The Nigerian Christian pilgrim commission has assured of improved services in its pilgrimage operations.The Federal Commissioner representing FCT on NCPC Board, Rev. Dr Israel Akanji disclosed this in Jerusalem during a Jerusalem Pilgrims Certificate presentation ceremony. Rev. Akanji who stood in for both the Chairman of NCPC, Pastor Yomi Kasali and the Executive secretary of NCPC, Rev. Uja Tor Uja thanked God for the success of the closing ceremony of the pilgrimage circle. In the words of Rev. Akanji,"In the course of this pilgrimage, we have observed some areas that might need improvement ". He further stressed that the benefits surpassed some of the hardships the pilgrims encountered during their pilgrimage journey. He explained that the Easter pilgrimage ought to had commenced in the first quarter of the year, but was delayed due to visa challenges. However, he stated that the commission was grateful to God for the resolution of the problem following the intervention of the Secretary To the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha. He informed that the Board was worried about the spate of defections of pilgrims during pilgrimage which necessitated their meeting with the Nigerian ambassador to Israel recently. His words," the Board members interfaced with the Nigerian Ambassador to Israel to find a way to reduce absconders during pilgrimage. The Cleric admonished the pilgrims to always conduct themselves properly and befitting as they return to Nigeria. According to him, "as you are going home, it is expected that we will see another you". He further reiterated," let it be that when people see you, they will see Jesus." Speaking, the representative of the Conference of States and Chairman Oyo state Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Bishop Ademola Moradeyo thanked the Executive secretary of NCPC Rev. Uja Tor Uja for his able leadership. He equally congratulated the members of Board of NCPC for their appointment into the Board of the Commission. He thanked God profusely for not allowing any calamity to befall the operations of Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria since inception. He also thanked God for a successful Easter pilgrimage which should have been completed in April. The Bishop further stressed the need for NCPC and the stakeholders to aggressively address the menace of absconds which he said has become "a torn on our flesh". Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Sunway Tours Israel, Mr. Shimon Levin thanked NCPC and the pilgrims for a wonderful pilgrimage experience in the Holy Land. He appreciated the government of Nigeria for creating the enabling environment for pilgrimage to thrive in Nigeria. Mr. Levin advised the pilgrims to continue to follow the path way of Christ in every thing they do and be good ambassadors of Christ and Nigeria. He said," when you came, each of you was an Ambassador of Nigeria; but when you leave each of you will be Ambassadors of Israel". The highlights of the ceremony were testimonies by pilgrims, decoration of JP lapel on Rev.Israel Akanji, presentation of JP certificates as well as the cutting of the ceremony cake by dignitaries.
The JP ceremony was graced by Apostle Anthony Fasipe,Federal Commissioner representing South West on the Board of NCPC, Mrs. Nkiru Ejiofor, Ex- Officio member representing Federal Ministry of Aviation, Chairman Federal Medical Committee, Dr Francis Alu and other Church leaders.
Celestine Toruka reporting from Israel.