Gombe State Government has assured of its commitment to provide adequate support for successful and hitch-free Christian pilgrimage exercise by Christian pilgrims from the state.
The assurance was given by the state governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya who was speaking when he granted audience to the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, (NCPC), Revered Yakubu Pam who paid him a courtesy visit in Gombe on Tuesday.
The governor said that in spite of the over N250 million unsettled claims left by the previous administration for the State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, his government is committed to providing Christians in the state the opportunity and needed support to undertake their spiritual journey.
He said that “This government inherited liability of about N120 in a state that is just about 3.2 million in population, so spread it per capita on the citizens and you can imagine what it is. And that is just for the liabilities that were booked and recorded”.
The governor added that “Issues to do with unsettled liabilities of pilgrimage of close to N250 million were not part of our assessment. But despite this, we will make sure we continue to fulfil our own obligations to provide support to those who wish to perform the Holy pilgrimage”.
He appreciated the leadership of the NCPC for their choice of Gombe to host the North East Zonal meeting and to also flag-off the next pilgrimage to Jerusalem, noting that this would not have been possible without the peace and tranquillity the state enjoys, as well as its centrality and neutrality.
The governor also said that in spite of the cosmopolitan nature of Gombe, the state remains peaceful, attributing the feat to government’s pro-activeness and the understanding of the people.
“I can beat my chest to say that peace doesn’t bring itself, we worked for it and God answered our prayers and gave us peace, so we shall continue to work assiduously to guard and protect the peace and the human resources of the state for the benefit of our people”, the governor stated.
The governor who decried the setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the global economy said that the novel Coronavirus is a wake-up call for Nigeria and Nigerians to do the right thing.
He added that it may take some years for Nigeria and the world to fully recover from the economic effects of the pandemic and as a result, he said his administration has made budgetary provisions to stimulate the economy and mitigate the impact especially on women and the youths in the post-COVID-19 era.
Inuwa Yahaya said that the security challenges confronting the North can be attributed to years of neglect of the ways and means human beings have been managed over time.
He said that “Neglecting an endeavour that can take people to the doorsteps of economic prosperity can be detrimental to the present and future generations. Before now, the economy of the north used to hinge on agriculture but the discovery of oil relegated the agric and the mining sectors to the background”.
“But I am confident with wise counsel from people like you, the North can once again regain its pride of place in the country”, he assured.
Earlier speaking, the NCPC Executive Secretary, Reverend Yakubu Pam said that they were in Gombe for a zonal meeting aimed at building synergy between the NCPC and the state pilgrims welfare boards for successful and hitch-free Christian pilgrimages.
He commended Governor Inuwa Yahaya for his giant strides in road construction, youths empowerment and the ambitious Gombe Goes Green (3G )project which seeks to regenerate the environment.
He equally thanked the Governor for the cordial relationship that exists between his administration and the State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN as well as the Christian community in general.
Reverend Pam, who doubles as the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Northern region, described Governor Yahaya as a God-sent leader who is working tirelessly for the betterment of the masses and the entire citizenry as contained in an Ismaila Uba Misilli, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the governor.