By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS State Government, recently disclosed that it had introduced a new payment plan for its residents willing to embark on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and Israel, as part of measures aimed at cushioning the effect of the current economic realities in the country.
The state’s Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef, who disclosed this while briefing journalists at Alausa, Ikeja, said that government came up with the initiative to reward religious leaders who are able to mobilize up to 50 members of their religious organizations for pilgrimage with one slot each.
He said in view of the existing harmonious relationship among the religious bodies in the state, government has also approved pilgrimage to Israel by any Muslim willing to do so.
Abdul-Lateef said, “Today, we are commencing the sale of forms for the Christian Pilgrimage on a new note. In response to the economic recession, the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has approved the payment for pilgrimage to Israel, Rome and Greece on installmental basis. So, Lagosians can begin to pay for pilgrimage with any amount.
“The price for Israel is N580, 000 but if anyone intends to combine Israel with Greece and Rome, the price is N720, 000. With the commencement of the ‘Pay Small Small’ we expect that Lagosians will take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that most of the things they have read in the Bible, they go to Israel and see.
“We also urge Muslims that from this month, we will be accommodating Muslims who intend to visit Jerusalem because Jerusalem is home to the third holiest Mosque.”
Harping on the partnership with religious leaders on slots for mobilization of their members, Abdulateef clarified that the initiative was not a negation of the No-pilgrimage Sponsorship of the state government but a modern trend in marketing designed to reward business partners.