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Are pilgrimmages wasteful spending in the name of religion?

26 August 2014, 11:14 OBARO

Over the years, government sponsorship of selected few for pilgrimages has gained prominence and has often been seen as a way of rewarding party loyalists, political associates, friends and families of governments. This has resulted into setting aside huge amounts of money that isn’t enough to provide basic amenities for the people into sponsorship for these holy Journeys.

Government has a responsibility to provide good infrastructural amenities like good motorable roads, portable drinkable water, quality affordable education, good health care delivery system, and creation of enabling environment for businesses and investments to thrive.

It is therefore religiously wrong and morally unfair for money which belongs to everybody to be used to sponsor a few for pilgrimages. It is criminal and unlawful for tax payer’s money to be allocated for pilgrimages in the yearly budget thereby deviating from what these money should originally be meant for, hence denying the people of the dividends of democracy, this is unreasonable and even against the tenets of both religions (Islam and Christianity).

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As high as twelve percent (7%) of the budget of some states is being set aside for pilgrimages even though some of these states are considered as “Poor” states. Their peoples are faced with challenges of lack of portable drinkable water which has often resulted in outbreaks of water borne disease like Cholera, Typhoid fever e.t.c. Healthcare delivery system in these states are in total shambles and rot, there is lack of well equipped clinics and this has greatly increased maternal mortality.

Lack of good motorable roads are prominent in these states and the direct effects of this has been a geometric increase in the rate of road accidents which has forced a few of its citizenry who could afford to travel by air to always see it as a safer means of transportation, but we all know the story of aviation in Nigeria where lives are still being lost frequently.

Quality affordable education system is one of the basic responsibility of government but the governors would rather advocate for an increase in their quota for Hajj, Jerusalem/Rome than handle the education of its citizenry as a matter of utmost priority. It is shameful and shocking to know that apart from the federal and state governments, the various local governments are also involved in sponsoring people for pilgrimages, yet they often “cry” of no money to carry out projects that has direct bearing on the lives of their people.

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Government at various level should put an end to this uneconomical and unnecessary spending and focus on the business of providing the much craved dividends of democracy. If Hajj, Jerusalem/Rome are truly religious obligations then I don’t see the reason why it should deny the people of the basic amenities needed for life. The people shouldn’t be deprived of their rights to good and motorable roads, portable drinkable water, good healthcare delivery system and quality affordable education, just because the governments has to sponsor their political thugs and party loyalists for pilgrimage. No wonder why pilgrims seldom abscond when they gets to the holy lands, this is simply due to the fact that they weren’t prepare spiritually to undertake such journeys.

The national assembly and human right organizations should come to the aide of common Nigerians and prevail on government at all level to put an end to these reckless spending once and for all. The people are dying and the crave for the provision of basic amenities is high. Enough of this rebuff of the rights of the people, somebody should please call the governments to order.

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