EditorialStirring Fresh Controversy With FG's N90bn Hajj Subsidy

Stirring Fresh Controversy With FG’s N90bn Hajj Subsidy

May 21, (THEWILL)- The recent approval of a whopping N90 billion as subsidy for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage by the Federal Government is not only worrisome but also disappointing as the government seems to be deliberately stirring the hornet’s nest once again and courting fresh trouble.

Coming on the heels of the raging controversy over the exorbitant cost of constructing the  Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway and the non-adherence to due diligence in the award of the project, it is really sad that the Federal Government would start another round of justification, and so soon, over an obviously unpopular decision.

Not too long ago, the Federal Government came under intense criticism over the number of sponsored delegates to the Climate Action Conference – COP 28 – in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at a very huge cost to the government.

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THEWILL recalls that the Minster of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, had to come in to justify the full sponsorship of the 422-member delegation, saying they were at the Conference for business and not on a jamboree.

Defending the indefensible this time around, Vice President Kashim Shettima, Friday, confirmed the approval of a whopping N90 billion as 2024 Hajj subsidy as he tried effortlessly to justify another reckless and wasteful spending at a time Nigerians are being told to tighten their belts in the face of increasing economic hardship.

“Mr president has been committed to this year’s Hajj pilgrimage due to the economic situation. He has also contributed the sum of N90 billion to subsidise this year’s pilgrimage to have a smooth and successful exercise,” Shettima confirmed at the kick-off of the 2024 Hajj exercise, trying to impress the Muslim faithful.

”You may recall that this year, we had a major challenge in announcing the final hajj fare for the 2024 pilgrimage due to fluctuation in foreign exchange rates.

”President Bola Tinubu also works round the clock to control the downward spiral of our local currency to bring relief to our pilgrims and other Nigerians.

”A move that eventually succeeded in lowering the fare. The President approved the release of N90 billion to subsidise the cost of pilgrimage for this year’s hajj.”

However, the implications of the approval for a secular state like Nigeria are grave as adherents of the other religions – Christians and traditionalists – would now feel entitled, and rightly too, to have their own share of the Federal Government’s largesse all in the name of going to pray for Nigeria.

We believe that this approval is reckless as it goes a long way to further prove the insensitivity of the Federal Government to the plight of most Nigerians now. With lots of infrastructure crying for attention in almost every sector of the economy, approving a whopping N90 billion as subsidy for Hajj at this point in time is definitely not the right thing to do.

aiteo

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