The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has lamented the inadequate funding of the Nigeria Christians Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) by the Federal Government.
The committee, which made its position known on Wednesday during an oversight visit to the NCPC headquarters in Abuja, decried the allocation of N54m to the commission in the 2016 Budget, an amount it said was insufficient for capital projects.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of the NCPC, Reverend Tor Uja, disclosed that the commission was financially constrained as a result of poor funding.
He added that the NCPC in the 2016 Budget has an allocation of N54m, a sum which he said was a far cry from what is needed to implement certain projects by the commission.
According to Uja, one of such capital intensive projects include the construction of a conference centre needed for carrying out orientation exercises for Christian pilgrims.
Responding, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, however assured the commission of Senate’s readiness to address the issue in the 2017 Budget proposal when forwarded to the National Assembly.
For his part, the vice chairman of the committee, Senator Shehu Sani, described as meager, the N54m allocated to the commission in the 2016 budget.
According to the lawmaker who represents Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, the role of the commission remains vital to the sustenance of unity in the country.
“What shocked me is the amount of money allocated to you for capital projects which is a meager 54m. That is unfair. I share your thinking on this, but also I think it will not be wrong to draw your attention to the economic realities facing the country today.
“At the moment, I think the federal government is doing all it can to cut costs, a situation which has led all government agencies to think along this line as well.”
He continued: “What is holding Nigeria together presently is prayers. What our pilgrims are going to do each time they travel is what keeps us together. Each time predictions are made about the country’s breakup, the nation somehow surmounts these predictions.”
“Our faith and prayer is what keeps up together, not our constitution. I hope this relationship between the Senate and NCPC will be one that will see an end to the challenges presently faced by Nigeria,” Senator Sani added.