Bayelsa State has said it would stop sponsoring pilgrims to fulfil their religious obligations due to current economic problem in Nigeria.
Seriake Dickson, the state governor, said this while inaugurating a 10-member Pilgrims Welfare Board at the Conference Hall of Government House in Yenagoa, the capital of the state.
“… 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 the 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,” the governor said.
Seriake assured “all people of faith are at liberty to live in our state and practice their faith without let and hindrance”.
ArchBishop Israel Ige, Chairman of the State Pilgrims Welfare Board, described Pilgrimage as a tool for moral transformation and spiritual rebirth. Ige is the immediate past Chairman of the Bayelsa Chapter of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Other members of the board are Catechist Aputu John Dan, Vice Chairman; Bishop Ebi Belepeigha, Secretary; Mrs Pere-ere Koroye, Dame (Mrs) Atonye Barigha and Rev John Lewis to serve as members. Others are MacDonald Osarebie, Alhaji Yakubu Boleigha, Alhaji Kassim Oru, Pastor Dimaro Ayaebi as members.