BY CLEMENT OCHUKO
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has on Wednesday disagreed with many state governors that sponsor Nigerians with States’ funds to Mecca or Jerusalem.
He was in the opinion that such gestures should be discouraged, adding that there are so many pressing needs in the states that demand urgent attention financially.
Speaking on Wednesday in Asaba during a public presentation of a book, ‘The Experience,’ on pilgrimage to Israel, authored by Mr Fidelis Egugbo, Bello said pilgrimage sponsorship should be discouraged.
Bello was represented by the Deputy Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Ahmed Mohammed, and a member of the Kogi State Executive Council, Moses Okezie.
He said that although citizens should be aided in worshipping God when such becomes a strain on state resources, it should be discouraged to free up funds to meet priority needs.
He said, “Where government can, it should facilitate but we do believe that sponsorship, especially if it places an undue burden on the resources of the state, will no longer be a sustainable template.
“But it depends on state to state. So for those who can afford it, it is important to help people to serve God. It is also good that in planning for development, money can also be freed up from non-essentials to things that can directly impact on the lives of people on the ground to reduce at least agitations of non-development or poor development by successive governments.”
In his remark, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the Delta State, represented by the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Fidelis Tilije, applauded the author for documenting his experience.