From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

 

A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC), Nze Chidi Duru, has frowned at the report that the Federal Government subsidised religious pilgrimage with N90 billion, warning that such should not have any place in present day Nigeria.

Duru, the Deputy National Organising Secretary of the ruling party dropped the comment while frowning at the report of spending the sum of N90 billion to subsidise the Holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

In a statement he issued in Abuja on Saturday, the deputy organising scribe  noted that “it is with this in mind that I would rather give the benefit of the doubt to the Federal Government because the news sources that proclaimed this incident have no ascription to any of the Federal Government’s official spokespersons.

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“I do not want to believe, for a moment, that a government that is being confronted by an economic crisis would dare to imagine spending N90 billion on subsidising the cost of pilgrimage, let alone actually spending such a sum of money.

“Not with the huge infrastructure deficit most Nigerians mourn about. The sum of N90 billion will go a long way in bridging the huge infrastructural deficit that has continued to haunt the possibility of prosperity taking real roots in Nigeria.

“I insist we shouldn’t be talking about subsidising any kind of religious pilgrimage either of the Muslim or Christian type. The injunction of pilgrimage is personal to adherents of both religions and there is no place in any of the holy books requiring the use of collective resources of the people to fund the religious duties of any single individual or group of people.

“It is the discipline and perseverance that are associated with saving enough money individually to embark on the pilgrimage that is considered the affirmation of the righteousness of adherents.

“In this regards, we must continue to remind ourselves that Nigeria is a secular state; our constitution does not acknowledge any religion or ways of worship, therefore; religion should, at the most, be a spiritual complement to people in government minus the possibility of a material-dependent relationship,” he argued.