TWO contentious issues: The powers of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) over parastatals and the Federal Government’s sponsorship of Christian and Muslim pilgrims to the Holy Lands, may soon be resolved. The Goodluck Jonathan administration, which is allegedly well-disposed to the recommendations of Stephen Oronsaye’s report, is set to implement, among others, these two salient aspects of the document.
It was learnt that in line with the recommendations of the panel, the President is set to divest the SGF’s office of some of its functions and transfer them to a soon-to-be created Ministry of Special Duties. Also, the government, which has reportedly expressed disgust over the huge public funds it expends yearly on pilgrims, has resolved to stop further allocations for the conduct of the personal spiritual exercise.
According to Presidency sources, the government is opposed to spending public funds on pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem in Israel because between 2007 and 2011, it expended N6.449 billion on the scheme.