Lagos State Government has accused the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) of muzzling State Pilgrims Boards, saying NCPC has urspsed their functions and not allowing them to function according to the laws establishing them.
The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef who stated this while receiving the report of Year 2015 Christian Pilgrimage from the chairman of the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Bishop Sola Ore in his office, pointed out that the law establishing NCPC and the National Hajj Commission (NHC) restricted the commissions to only licensing, regulating and supervising State Pilgrim Boards and other agencies.
Abdul-Lateef explained that it was alien to Federalism that Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, which was established by Law duly passed by the State House of Assembly and assented to by the Governor of the State, should have its domestic functions such as screening of intending pilgrims usurped by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC).
According to him, if NCPC adhered strictly to its statutory responsibilities and not meddled in domestic activities of State Pilgrim Boards, it would not only strengthen the State Boards, but would empower them to take far reaching decisions on the welfare and safety of their pilgrims, as well as put them in a position to be responsible for decision taken.
While congratulating the leadership of the Board for a successful 2015 pilgrimage, Abdul-Lateef noted that pilgrimage generally enhanced the spiritual capacity of pilgrims to put into practice their faith, as well as stimulate and reinforce their spiritual development.
The Commissioner explained that though the state government had put a stop to state sponsorship of pilgrimage, it would, however, not relent in its support of self-sponsored pilgrims because the State owed them the duty to safeguard their welfare, safety, within or outside Nigeria through appropriate provision of medical care.
He assured the Board that the report would be forwarded to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, adding that all recommendations, observations would be taken into account in line with the policy thrust of the state government.
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