How Niger Govt Spent N5.1bn On Subsidising Pilgrimage To Mecca, Jerusalem

Hajj-pilgrimThe Niger Government said on Friday it spent about N5.1 billion to subsidise both Muslim and Christian pilgrims from the state during the last six years.

Alhaji Shehu Haruna, the Commissioner for Religious Affairs, announced this in Minna during the official opening of Tunga Juma’at Mosque.

He said that the money was spent on the provision of hotel accommodation for the pilgrims in the Holy land.

“The money was used to secure accommodation for pilgrims close to the Grand Mosque in Mecca so that they could perform their religious obligation with ease,” he said.

He added that part of the money was spent on “operational duties” for Muslim and Christian pilgrims in the Holy lands and in Nigeria.

Gov Babangida Aliyu, who defended the amount, said it was the only way some people would benefit from the government.

He cited Fulani herdsmen as some people in the state who did not benefit from the provision of amenities by government.

“They do not benefit from the government electricity, housing, roads and other infrastructure; they only benefit directly from government through subsidy on pilgrimage,” he said.

Aliyu appealed to traditional rulers to check the proliferation of Juma’at Mosques in the state by regulating where they  were to be sited, to ensure cohesion and unity among the Muslim Ummah.

The governor said that government was prepared to enforce the traditional rulers’ position on the matter.

He warned that government would demolish any Mosque built illegally in any part of the state.

He said that government would spend money to fund the completion of Mosques and Churches provided the owners adhered to laid down rules of constructing such structures. (NAN)




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