The Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, on Monday said the state would no longer sponsor pilgrims to Jerusalem and Mecca.
The new policy is contained in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Jibrin Baba Ndace in Minna, the state capital.
The governor, according to the statement, said the present economic challenges in the country informed the decision of government to stop forthwith state sponsorship of intending Muslim pilgrims for Hajj in Saudi Arabia and Christians to Jerusalem in Israel.
“In view of the present national economic challenges – a situation well known to all, sponsorship of pilgrims to holy land to perform pilgrimage has been put on hold with immediate effect,” Governor Bello was quoted as saying.
“Government is committed to supporting our people in fulfilling their religious obligation but the dwindling economic fortunes of the state, in the face of other equally people oriented demands, sponsorship of pilgrims to Hajj and Jerusalem is hereby suspended.”
He however said government would continue to be responsible for the sponsorship of officials to the holy lands to facilitate and ensure hitch free pilgrimages.
The governor, the statement said, assured the people of his administration’s resolve to meet its obligations to the governments of Israel and Saudi Arabia for a hitch-free pilgrimage and to ensure the welfare of pilgrims.