Annual Travel to Pilgrimages - At Whose Expense?

I was watching TV news in one of the local channels and saw a report, where the states have been informed to 'hands off' the organizing of annual trips to pilgrimages for members of the states. I found it fascinating and at the same time amazing watching some of the interviewee respond that the participation of people at the pilgrimages is a good way to help develop people spiritually. Is that a lie? Maybe not. So what is the fuss? 

Annually, the Federal Government, spends billions of naira sponsoring some certain groups to pilgrimages, for the Christians, to Jerusalem  and for the Muslims, to Mecca (Saudi Arabia). For some, it is a wonderful experience, especially for those who have received the sponsorship
opportunities in the past. As part of the news report, some other respondents complained about the large chunk of money that is lavished annually for pilgrimages. 

As much as our spiritual development is important, at whose expense should the Nigerian revenue be used to sponsor a few to pilgrimages annually? The amount of money spent annually, does it contribute to reducing poverty? Or the beneficiaries of these pilgrimage trips, what have they contributed to the lives of the poor and disadvantaged as a result of their participation? At whose expense should the government be sending selected few to the pilgrimages annually? Ofcourse, a poor man/woman who can barely feed nor cater for his/her home, will rather have opportunities for livelihoods rather than investment in the development of other people's spiritual lives. So many youth lack opportunities and employment due to inability of the government to create sufficient employment. About 10 million children do not have access to basic education. These issues are priorities and need concentrated interventions to support the children and youth.

Spirituality is very personal so is going to the pilgrimage. The amount invested in these pilgrimages annually can be used to create access to schools for children and employment and opportunities for the youth. Persons interested in going to the pilgrimages should be as much as possible, be able to fund themselves for these trips since it is for their own spiritual growth. The annual travel to pilgrimages should not by anyway be at the expense of the Nigerian people. I will be happy to hear your thoughts...do you have a contrary view? 


2 comments:

  1. I love that we are beginning to talk about this. There is no reason why spiritual growth should be the responsibility of the State. Those funds should be used to improve infrastructure; access to good education and health care. Not squandring billions sending the same peoole for jamborees in Jerusalem and Mecca. We have such a long way to go. Thank you for an excellent write up.

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    1. Very well said Anne! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Indeed, a lot, in terms of interventions to reduce poverty and create of opportunities need to be the State and Federal government's priority.

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