Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has declared that his administration would no longer sponsor pilgrims who desire to fulfil their personal religious obligation.
The Governor said this while inaugurating a 10-member Pilgrims Welfare Board at the Conference Hall of Government House in Yenagoa. He explained that the decision was necessitated by the current economic realities, facing the state.
He urged the board to reach out to other stakeholders such as corporate citizens, churches, government officials and wealthy individuals for sponsorship, as well as sensitise intending pilgrims on the need for them to take responsibility for their spiritual assignment.
While congratulating the Chairman and members on their appointments, the Governor pointed out that, the Board’s duties are to coordinate and organise the activities of pilgrims and enlighten the public, that it is not just the government’s responsibility to continue to sponsor people on pilgrimage.
“We are a praying and Christian state but we also have Muslims here. And all people of faith are at liberty to live in our state and practice their faith without fear and hindrance. We give support and encouragement to all.
“We need this board in place, so that you can as a body, coordinate the activities of all pilgrims, whether they are Christian pilgrims, which majority of our people are, or even the activities of Muslims, who are to be supported to perform their obligation of visiting the Holy Land.
“But let me make it clear that the circumstances of our national economy and the realities of our state economy do not support the practice of state sponsorship anymore. But, we are going to encourage pilgrims from all faiths to be alive to their responsibilities, who may want to visit the Holy Land to do so.”
Governor Dickson further said that the administration would continue to maintain the prevailing enabling environment for Christians, Muslims and other religions to practice their faiths without any hindrance.
The Chairman of the State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Archbishop Israel Ige, described pilgrimage as a tool for moral transformation and spiritual rebirth, that helps to strengthen the faith of Christians by enabling them to physically confirm the scriptures they read and hear.
He expressed gratitude to the Governor for their appointment, and pledged to carry out the board’s mandate diligently.
Other members of the board are:
- Catechist Aputu John Dan, the Vice Chairman of the Board.
- Bishop Ebi Belepeigha is the Secretary
- Mrs Pere-ere Koroye.
- Dame (Mrs) Atonye Barigha
- Rev John Lewis
- Mr MacDonald Osarebie.
- Alhaji Yakubu Boleigha.
- Alhaji Kassim Oru.
- Pastor Dimaro AyaebiAyaebi
Clued from channels television