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NCPC AND MEMBERS OF THE FED GOVT DELEGATION HOLD EVALUATION MEETING WITH TOUR OPERATORS IN JERUSALEM

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission,

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Mr John Kennedy Opara and the members of the Federal Government Delegation to Israel which includes members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of both Senate and House had an evaluation meeting with the six approved Tour Operators in Jerusalem to review this year's pilgrimage operations.
Briefing them at the meeting, the Executive Secretary of NCPC, Mr John  Kennedy Opara gave a run down of this year,s pilgrimage operations which was flagged off in Abuja by The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark on 18th October, 2014.He disclosed that about 9,000 christian pilgrims had  so far been airlifted to the Holy Land since the commencement of of this year,s pilgrimage operations.
He explained that the second edition of A Day with Jesus in Israel which the President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan participated was  most impactful and successful.Mr Opara further informed that the Commission made use of  six international Airports across the country to airlift pilgrims to Israel this year, adding that the Commission for the first time was able to airlift Kaduna pilgrims from the Kaduna International Airport and would hopefully airlift Bauchi pilgrims from the Bauchi international Airport.
Mr Opara disclosed that 13 states had been able to perform their pilgrimage so far in Israel and about 47 percent increase in terms of self sponsorship had been achieved this year.
He stressed that the Commission would continue to strive towards achieving Zero abscondment of pilgrims. He commended some well meaning Nigerians who sponsored an impressive number of pilgrims  to the Holy Land this year, while urging others to emulate their selfless service to humanity.
Mr Opara further stated that because of the desire of the Commission to reduce zero mortality of pilgrims, he posited that pilgrimage should be performed by those who are physically fit.
He hinted that the Commission would introduce leadership training for pilgrims in Israel next year and also introduce youth pilgrimage programme in the coming year.
Earlier, the Nigerian Ambassador to the State of Israel, Ambassador David Obasa commended members of the National Assembly for finding time to perform their oversight functions in Israel at such a time when the electioneering campaign for 2015 general election is in top gear.
He equally commended the President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for his  second presidential pilgrimage to Israel, which according to him ,was most eventful and rewarding.
He also commended the Ground Handlers in Israel for their efforts; he urged them to continually improve on their services.
In his remarks, the Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mattew Nwagwu commended the NCPC Boss for setting a standard for christian pilgrimage in Nigeria.He also spoke on the need to operationalise the Bilateral Air Service Agreement with Israel to make it effective and functional.
Also in his remarks, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Simeon Ajibola commended the NCPC Boss for bringing airlifting nearer to the pilgrims. He equally commended him for the quality of accommodation provided for the pilgrims as well as the introduction of Nigerian cuizine in their meals.
Members of the Delegation also graced the JP ceremony at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem where pilgrims from Kwara and states sponsored by Christian Association of Nigeria CAN.were issued with J P certificates as well as members of the Delegation.
Every October/December pilgrimage, the Commission , the Federal Government Delegation as well as the members of the National Assembly as part of their oversight functions meet with the Ground Handlers in Israel to appraise the pilgrimage operatiion.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

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