The Lagos State Government says it has saved a total of N4.5billion in the last three years since it stopped funding pilgrimages.
According to it, the feat was recorded following the decision of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to stop the sponsorship of religious journeys to Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, revealed this on Monday in Ikeja at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third year in office of the governor.
“Yearly in the past, before the present administration came on board, the state government spent an average of N1.5billion to sponsor people to pilgrimage free of charge,” he said in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Habib Aruna.
“But since Governor Ambode decided to stop the sponsorship of pilgrimage, we have saved N4.5billion in the last three years and the governor has not changed his mind with regard to sponsorship of pilgrimages.”
The commissioner, however, said the state government would provide for the welfare of the pilgrims, as well as support them with medical tips and clerics who would guide them to ensure that they are focused on the spiritual objectives of the pilgrimage and not something else.
He said funds saved from the development have since been diverted into the construction of roads and other amenities to make life easier for residents.
Abdullateef further reeled out the achievements of the ministry in the last one year.
He noted that government was able to record high level of unprecedented peace and the harmonious relationship among diverse groups through its deliberate policies.
The commissioner added that a total of 13,000 religious institutions were registered in the period under review and asked others to register with the government as it was at no cost to them.