The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, Rev Yakubu Pam has said that the Commission would do everything possible to discourage and put an end to abscondment of pilgrims during pilgrimage.
He made the disclosure recently in Umuahia, Abia state during a strategic stakeholders meeting with the states Chairmen and secretaries of the Pilgrims Welfare Boards in the South East geo political zone.
In the words of the NCPC boss, “we are ready to deal with the abscondment of pilgrims during pilgrimage”.
He explained that one of the strategies to discourage the menace of abscondment would be to put in place tougher measures for the guarantors to endorse so that when a Pilgrim absconds the guarantor would be made to bear the brunt and if possible risk being arrested by security operatives.
He decried the fact that South East has the highest number of absconds during pilgrimage.
He called on the South East Governors to embrace pilgrimage by increasing their sponsorship of intending pilgrims to Israel.
He hinted that the zone remained the least zone in terms of the sponsorship of pilgrims despite having about 95 percent Christian population.
He posited that one of the ways Christians could benefit from the dividends of democracy is through their participation in pilgrimage.
Pam intimated that the cost of this year’s general pilgrimage to Israel has been slashed to enable most Christians participate in the spiritual exercise. To this end, he called on the governors of the zone and Church leaders to cash in on the reduction in this year’s pilgrimage to sponsor reasonable number of Pilgrims to the Holy Land.
The number one Christian Pilgrim Officer of the Federation stated that the reason for the stakeholders meeting was to harmonise the existing relationship between the Commission and the States Christian Pilgrims welfare boards.
He explained that NCPC plays a regulatory role for Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria while the states bring the pilgrims. He equally called on States without a properly constituted Boards to ensure that they set up boards in such States so that their pilgrimage operations would be seamless.
He appealed to the states pilgrimage leaders to share and Exchange ideas and experiences so that they would all be on the same page of functionality.
He further admonished the states pilgrimage leaders to ensure that they build relationships with the government and the church. He expantiated that pilgrimage is about relationship building which is part of his six points agenda.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of the Anambra State Christian pilgrims welfare Board, Prof. Steve Ibenta congratulated the NCPC boss on behalf of other States Chairmen and secretaries of States Christian Pilgrims welfare boards in the zone on his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
His words, “we in unity congratulate you on your well deserved appointment. It is God’s decision”. He prayed that God would provide him all the graces he needs to function effectively. The theme of the stakeholders meeting is “Creating Inclusive Government Atmosphere. ”
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