Seventy-seven intending pilgrims from Delta State have been dropped from the pilgrimage to Jordan due to the decision of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) to centralise COVID-19 tests for intending pilgrims in the state.
A total of 315 people from Delta were supposed to have been airlifted to Jordan from the Port Harcourt International Airport, but 223 eventually travelled as 15 reportedly tested positive for the virus and 77 could not travel due to the late release of their results.
However, the Delta State government has faulted the process, lamenting that the NCPC had caused untold hardship for intending pilgrims in the state because of the haphazard release of test results.
The commissioner for information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said the centralised COVID-19 tests ordered by the NCPC was improper and disheartening.
Aniagwu said it was disappointing for the intending pilgrims, especially as the state had accredited centres to carry out the COVID-19 test.
He apologised to the affected pilgrims for the inconveniences suffered as a result of the botched arrangement, assuring that efforts were being made to remedy the situation.
On the open grazing ban, he said the law to ban open grazing in the state would promote healthy and harmonious living between farmers and herders.
Aniagwu said the law was not targeted at any section of the society but to provide healthy living among stakeholders in the farming and cattle rearing businesses.
He said the constant clashes between farmers and herders in the country necessitated the call for legislation to ban open grazing, especially in southern Nigeria.
He blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for not providing adequate leadership in resolving the crisis, adding that the state House of Assembly had conducted a public hearing on the bill before going on recess.
He added that the bill would be passed as soon as the assembly returns from its annual recess.