The Ekiti State Government has advocated more private sponsorship of
pilgrims to Mecca and Jerusalem in view of government’s withdrawal
from bankrolling pilgrimages.
The Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, stressed that both the
Federal Government and the State Government have stopped sponsoring
pilgrims to holy pilgrimages to save funds for developmental purposes.
The Deputy Governor made the remarks on Tuesday when he received in
audience members of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board led by the
Chairman, Alhaji Babatunde Onipede.
The Board members were on a familiarisation visit to the Deputy
Governor whose office supervises the agency in the state.
Egbeyemi, however, expressed satisfaction with the peaceful
coexistence between Muslims and Christians in the state which makes
them to live together as brothers and sisters.
The Deputy Governor advised individuals interested in going for
pilgrimage to do so through private savings in view of the government
withdrawal of sponsorship of sponsoring pilgrims to Mecca and
He said: “Both the Federal Government and the State Government have
said they will not spend their money on pilgrimages again and that is
why there was no budgetary allocation to it.
“Anybody wishing to perform his religious obligation of going to the
holy land must do so with his own personal savings and that was what I
told the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) when their executives
made similar request because we must be fair to all.”
The Deputy Governor, however said the Board’s demand for office
furniture and utility vehicles are legitimate and would be looked into
He said the state government would be ready to assist the Board in the
performance of its statutory duties.
Speaking earlier, Onipede expressed gratitude to Governor Kayode
Fayemi and the Deputy Governor for finding him and other members of
the Board worthy of being appointed to office.
Onipede revealed that the Board was not run properly during the last
administration hence the need to draw the attention of the present
administration to the situation for assistance.
He said: “It was not functioning as a Board during the Fayose
administration; it was just lying fallow there and was not run like a
“In Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, we don’t have utility vehicles. Our
utility vehicle in Saudi Arabia has been grounded since 2018.”
Onipede said the Board needed furniture and more funds for smooth
running of the office for quality service delivery.