By Dipo Awojobi – Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has been commended for his decision to stop sponsoring people to Mecca and Jerusalem for pilgrimage purposes.
Responding to the statement of the state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Hon. Abdulateef Abdulateef on the issue, the Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Home Affairs, Hon. Olayiwola Olawale stated that the decision was commendable.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the committee to the ministry on Thursday, the lawmaker promised that the Assembly was ready to back this up with the necessary legislations.
He stated that the visit of the committee to the ministry was homecoming, adding that the Commissioner was a man of integrity and that the committee would work hand-in-hand with the ministry.
“The Speaker of the House and other Principal Officers send their greetings. We are here to perform our oversight functions and we are ready to work with the ministry to achieve success.
“I commend the pro-active posture of the ministry as enumerated by the Commissioner. We are happy with the steps being taking by the ministry to ensure religious harmony in the state. We will also support this with the necessary laws,” he said.
Earlier in his address, Hon. AbdulAkeem informed the committee that he has been educating his colleagues in the executive arm of government about the importance of the state assembly.
He noted that the fact that the lawmakers approve the appointment of members of the executive shows that they perform important constitutional roles.
According to him, there is a symbiotic relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of government in the state, while thanking the assembly for the quick passage of the 2016 Budget.
“Your resolution is a compulsion it is not advisory. Even your motion that Mile 12 Market should be relocated to another area is being considered by the state government. The Ministry of Home Affairs has been restructured and some of its duties have been given to other MDAs.
“We have taken giant steps since we assumed duty. I have a competent Permanent Secretary, who is a core administrator and I am a core politician. She has led the civil service arm of the ministry effectively,” he said.
The Commissioner stated further that the state now has a databank for religious organisations, who he said were soft targets for criminals and people with evil tendencies.
He revealed that the ministry is working with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other Muslim organisations in the state on getting a true figure of the number of religious organisations in the state.
“We will organise an inter-faith conference to meet with the leaders of the religious groups. We are known for peace in the state and we don’t wait for crisis to happen before we handle it.
“We are planning an International Tolerance Day, where pastors and imams would walk together on the streets on the same day,” he stated.