Posted by News Express | 14 March 2016 | 3,383 times
The public policy analysis unit of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Think-Thank Nigeria, has commended the Lagos State Government for its recent decision to stop further state sponsorship of religious pilgrimages, which will save the state hard-earned resource/foreign exchange and consequently free such funds for investment in other areas of the economy, including rehabilitation of roads, bridges and waterway transport facilities.
Saying, it’s ‘about time’, the statement applauded the government “for taking a very original, exemplary, pragmatic and leadership step towards secularism, and further conserving foreign exchange, conscious of the fact that such sponsorship depleted the state’s coffers of hard-earned taxpayer’s money, even as it promoted favoritism within the administrative, religious and societal ranks. It challenged the Federal Government to borrow a leaf from the policy.
“Matters of faith are of personal resolve and spiritual commitment between the individual and his maker. No one should toy with such allegiance. The state’s efforts to strengthen the citizens’ loyalty to his/her faith must be complemented and hailed for the momentary, not everlasting relief it sought to provide to the probably indigent citizens seeking to demonstrate their commitment to their faith. It really is to the benefit of the state and law enforcement that religious morals be strengthened, by emphasising pilgrimage rites to the faithful. It, however, should not be at an extreme cost to the state.
“Pilgrimages should not become an avenue of boisterousness for intending pilgrims, while causing angst to others of the same faith who may not have the connection or wherewithal to be sponsored by the state. It is well-known that under the guise of state sponsorship to the holy lands, most traders have travelled as ‘pilgrims’. One has often marvelled at the size of the return-luggage from such pilgrims, such that people often ask: ‘Were they praying or shopping?’ Pilgrimage must have its privileges.”
The APGA Think-Thank also applauded Lagos State citizens for trying to adhere to the tenets of their religion, which often sustains the social and moral fabric of our society, adding: “Such adherence should, however, not come at a prohibitive cost to the state. In some quarters, such mandated sponsorship may be regarded as idolatry, which diminishes the faith it sought to promote.”
“We encourage those who can afford to go on the religious pilgrimage, to please go at their own expense. One's faith is never measured by one's ability to afford the pilgrimage. Our faith is measured by our demonstrations on the mundane matters which confront our daily lives,” the statement noted.
•Photo shows Governor Ambode.
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