The Lagos State Government on Monday promised to continue supporting Christian pilgrims to the holy land, toward increasing their faith in God.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave the assurance when the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam, paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina.
Sanwo-Olu said that such support would also ensure that the citizens believed in the opportunities in the country.
He said that as a government, his administration had always moved to improve the livelihood of the residents.
According to him, governance is improving the quality of life for citizens and making the place a lot better than his administration met it.
He said that the government was mindful of the fact that Lagos would always have lots of movement because of the population.
Due to this, he said the government had resolved to create other means of transportation for the residents.
”We are building the rail, we are expanding the waterways, we are encouraging people not to just use the road, but to use the waterways.
”By the Grace of God, we will complete the rail infrastructure, so the youth we are talking about will indeed have a sustainable life, will see a future that we built for them.
”It is really not about us again, it is about that 65 to 70 per cent population that we understand and identify that are the strength of the future of this nation.
”We are not only doing this in transportation, we are creating a tomorrow for them in education, in technology,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state government was building a 3,000km fibre network in Lagos State.
”This is the first of its kind, and after we finish that, we will do another 3,000km. A total of 6,000km of connectivity in metropolitan Lagos, where our schools, our hospitals, our public buildings will be connected.
”It will get to residents, people will have connectivity of fibre, since it is the new normal, everybody needs to have a stronger telephone connectivity, a stronger virtual connectivity, it becomes something that the youths will also be truly excited about,” the governor said.
He said that the government planned to use the experience of COVID-19 to be able to transform the health institutions and health infrastructure.
According to him, the government will make very strong statement in health infrastructure, in terms of new hospitals, new research and training centre and permanent isolation centre.
He said that this would enable the government to develop capacity in the event of a future pandemic.
Sanwo-Olu said there was the need to have resilient capacity, so as to know how to respond quicker and faster, in case of any pandemic.
”These are some of the little modest things we believe governance is all about. It is ensuring that we can create a future for our people, we can create a belief for them, to know and to see that indeed their life will be a lot better, there are opportunities for them and they can see that indeed they have a future in this country.
”We have been doing all of that, knowing that there is a supreme being, there is God Almighty somewhere.
”So, that is where you now tally in, to ensure that even while we do this, we do it with a reference that there is a God that is watching, that is supporting us.
”So, it speaks into our global vision to support your commission, to support what you are doing, to ensure that people have good life, to have strong faith, hope and belief that can make them total human beings at the end of the day,” he said.
The governor prayed that there would be peace in the land and in the tenure of the Executive Secretary; that people would go and come back peacefully and have the resources, even beyond the sponsorship, for them to make the desired journey.
Pam said that the purpose of the visit was to inform Gov. Sanwo-Olu of the pilgrimage to Israel by December.
”We want him to still do the same thing that he did last year, which was 2019, to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters, church leaders to go on sponsorship for the pilgrimage for the purpose of praying for our country.
”We know that we are in a very challenging time in this country, and so if there is anything we need more this time, this hour, it is prayer.
”One good thing is that he has shown leadership, he did it last year very well and we believe that he will do it more this year,” Pam said.
He said that those that had gone on pilgrimage had shown good citizenship, respect for government and authority in place.
”Some of them are becoming more nationalist and I believe this is the spirit we are looking for, to see that people believe in this country, people believe our sovereignty, people believe in our unity.
”So, the more government is involved through religion to build a nationhood, that will be very good.
”We even need more people to go and pray. Of course, COVID-19 has come, we know that it has affected a lot, but we are still trusting God that it will not affect our prayer negatively.
”We are not going there for tourism, we are actually going there to pray and whoever believes in the prayer of Christians, the prayer of Muslims, this is the hour to pray more, this is the hour to seek the face of God.
”So, even though we have the challenge of money, I believe that people will go; our expectation is still very high,” Pam said.
The Executive Secretary said the cost of the pilgrimage had been reduced, so that everyone that had the desire to go could still participate.
Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Oluwole Sogunle