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NCPC STRATEGIZES FOR 10, 000 PILGRIMS FOR 2021 MAIN PILGRIMAGE TO ISRAEL, JORDAN AND GREECE.

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The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, NCPC, Rev. Dr. Yakubu Pam, has disclosed that the Commission plans to raise about 10,000 pilgrims for the 2021 Pilgrimage exercise to Israel, Jordan and Greece scheduled for February, 2022.

Speaking in Lagos during an interactive session with the media, Rev. Pam stated that the Commission had already raised about 3000 of that expected figures from the states.

The NCPC boss observed with dismay that the pilgrims spirit is dying in the South East. "The South East zone that is predominantly Christians scored the least on sponsorship of Christian pilgrims, followed by South West zone", he said.
Rev Pam said Enugu state Governor, RT Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and his Lagos state counterpart, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu had done well in sponsorship of Christian pilgrims.

He said Ebonyi state Governor had promised to sponsor about 300 pilgrims, Imo state 500 and Lagos 300.
Rev Pam said NCPC would soon unfold a scheme that would enable intending Pilgrims to save money and sponsor themselves.
Rev Pam stated that the Commission would ensure that the church takes over the sponsorship of Christian pilgrimage.

He said he had been to many states in the country to build relationships with Christian fathers, church groups and the Governors to sponsor pilgrims, he explained that such visit is a continuous one and very important for the Pilgrimage process.
Rev Pam further stated that he has been involved in different peace missions to the South East to intervene on the issue of IPOB and the End SARS Protest in Lagos.

The NCPC boss said he came on board with a 6 point agenda in fighting corruption in the commission, rebuilding relationships with the governors and Christian fathers.
To fight corruption the commission, the NCPC boss explained that he had made the procurement process clean by ensuring things like returning travel allowances when he was supposed to travel but could not make it.

He disclosed further that Jordan has been added into the Christian pilgrimage package. He said the NCPC has put up a strategy to ensure there is zero abscondment of pilgrims. Rev Pam said part of the strategy is also to peg the age limit of intending pilgrims to 40. He said the sites approved based on NCPC Act include, Israel, Rome, Jordan and Greece. Rev Pam said Israel would be opened for pilgrimage in January 2022, while the commission is preparing for February to travel to the holy land.

On the issue of direct flight from Nigeria to Israel, the NCPC boss explained that the commission is working on getting the issue of direct sorted out, but explained that Israel came up with a proposal that their security personnel must be in any flight emanating from Nigeria to Israel for security reasons which the commission rejected. He said the agreed plan is for the Israeli security operatives to come to Nigeria to inspect the facilities and security at the Nigerian airports and give their approval.

Rev. Pam said the issue is not which airline operates direct flight to Israel but in sorting out the modalities that would make the direct flight possible. He intimated that the NCPC is currently building a 12 storey building in the Central Business District in Abuja which it started from ground zero , and when completed it would be beneficial to the Pilgrims and staff .

On why the commission is not considering including local religious sites in Nigeria on its package, or recognizing them for pilgrimage, Rev Pam pointed out that based on the NCPC Act, the body can only embark on pilgrimages to sites connected with Jesus Christ's missionary journey on earth and that of other notable prophets and patriarchs.

He said these sites can only be accommodated when the NCPC Act is amended and the sites are verified.

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Wednesday, 06 July 2022

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