In his bid to reduce the cost of governance, President Muhammadu Buhari announced yesterday that there will be no federal government delegation to the 2015 pilgrimage in Mecca.
He said states should take the responsibility of appointing their delegation as the federal government will not get itself involved in the process, adding that the decision is for both procedural and economic reasons and not one aimed at any group or individual.
Senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, who revealed this in a statement yesterday, noted that Buhari is strongly convinced that the decision will save the country about one $1 million and N30 million in local expenses.
“The states can deal with that (meaning appointment of own delegations) but this year, at the centre, we will not be involved,” Shehu quoted the president as saying.
He noted, however, that government will carry out its duty to Nigerians on the annual pilgrimage by extending to them consular, medical and welfare support as is expected of it.
The presidential spokesman further said the president reassured that government would not fail in its obligations to the citizens on pilgrimage in spite of the absence of a government delegation.
The statement made available to LEADERSHIP last night noted: “With the current stance of the federal government on balancing government expenditure and reducing costs where possible, President Muhammadu Buhari has ruled out the appointment of a government delegation for this year’s pilgrimage.
“Indications emerged earlier at the weekend from the Hajj Commission that this year’s Hajj would not have a government delegation. By this decision, government is expected to save about $1million and N30m in local expenses.”