ABUJA – The Federal Government has ruled out the appointment of a government delegation for this year’s pilgrimage.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, stated this on Monday in Abuja.
He said government’s decision was in line with its current stance on balancing government expenditure and reducing costs where possible.
According to him, by this decision, government is expected to save about one million dollars and N3million in local expenses.
The SSA said that government would carry out its duty to Nigerians on the annual pilgrimage by   extending to them consular, medical and welfare support as expected of it.
He quoted the President as saying that the decision was for both procedural and economic reasons and not one aimed at any group or individual.
“The states can deal with that (appointment of own delegations) but this year at the Centre, we will not be involved,’’ the President was quoted as saying.
According to Shehu, the President reassured that his administration will not fail in its obligations to the citizens on pilgrimage, in spite of the absence of a government delegation.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a 7-member Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption headed by Prof. Itse Sagay, professor of law and civil rights activist.
This information is contained in a statement issued by Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in Abuja.
The statement explained that the committee is to advise the administration on the prosecution of the War against Corruption (WAC) and the implementation of required Reforms in Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System.
The committee is also to develop comprehensive interventions for achieving recommended reforms.
Members of the committee are Prof. Femi Odekunle, Professor of Criminology, Ahmadu Bello University and Dr Benedicta Daudu, Associate Professor of International Law, University of Jos.
Others are Prof. Ebimitan Alemika, Professor of Sociology, University of Jos; Prof. Sadiq Radda, Professor of Criminology, Bayero University, Kano, and Hadiza Bala Usman, a civil society activist.
Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies would serve as member and Executive Secretary of the committee.
The statement said five million dollars Reform Fund had been established by Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Open Society Foundation in support of federal government’s anti-corruption and criminal justice reforms.
It said the fund would assist in the implementation of key components of the Action Plan and the work of the Presidential Advisory Committee.
“The fund would be managed by Trust Africa, an international development civil society organisation with programme presence in more than 25 African countries.

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