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PRESIDENT JONATHAN COMMENDS NCPC, PROMISES TO SUPPORT PILGRIMAGE

The President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has commended the giant strides of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), for the successful handling of

The President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has commended the giant strides of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), for the successful handling of the Christian Pilgrimage Exercise in the past two years. Mr. President made this commendation recently in the Presidential Villa in Abuja, while receiving the report of the 2013 Christian pilgrimage by the Federal Government Delegation.

He commended the Commission and the Government Delegation for a job well done, especially as the number of incidences of abscondment and other unwholesome practices by pilgrims had reduced immensely.

He commended the initiative of the Commission in the organization of “A Day with Jesus” in Jerusalem which he described as solemn and spiritually enriching. He urged the Commission to sustain such programmes.

Mr. President further affirmed we assure you that the Federal Government will continue to support our movement to the Holy Land.

Mr. President who through his participation in the Pilgrimage exercise last year was able to sign the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with the State of Israel, promised to ensure that the benefits of the Agreement is successfully achieved. His words,” I believe we will pursue the BASA to its logical conclusion”.

The President further assured that the federal government would establish Pilgrims’ camps and provide all the needed facilities in all the International Airports being used for Pilgrimages.

Mr. President decried the action of some States who have not been sponsoring Pilgrims to the Holy Land on account of their religion, stressing that Nigeria is a circular State and that States funds are general funds meant for all Nigerians  one irrespective of the faith they belong.

He stated that the extention of the tenure of the Federal Government’s Delegation for two years was to institutionalize memory and this had paid off.

He promised to consider the request to honour the NCPC Boss, John Kennedy Opara for the excellent handling of the 2013 Presidential pilgrimage in order to spur others to work hard.

Earlier, the Leader of the Federal Government Delegation, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor thanked Mr. President for accepting their earlier recommendations.

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor who is also the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), thanked Mr. President for embarking on Holy Pilgrimage last year, thereby being the first Christian President to have embarked on such Holy journey to Israel.

He equally thanked Mr. President for the signing of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with the State of Israel, which would hence forth make Flights to the State of Israel much easier for all intending Pilgrims as well as facilitate strong business ties between the two countries. His words:”Mr. President you have demonstrated that good leadership quality of listening which is very rare but which stands great leaders out and establishes them as servant leaders.”

He urged Mr. President to make his participation on Holy Pilgrimage to Israel an annual event. He called on the No.1 Citizen of the country to prevail upon the various Ministries and Departments responsible for the execution of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement now signed to conclude all arrangements that would take full benefit of the said Agreement.

He equally called on Mr. President to specially honour Mr. John Kennedy Opara, the NCPC helmsman for the efficient handling of the Presidential Pilgrimage as well as the entire Pilgrimage which has brought such pride to the Nation before the international community.

The 11 man Federal Government Delegation were inaugurated in 2012 and it has two serving Honourable Ministers as Members – Honourable Ministers of State Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri  and her counterpart in the Federal Ministry of water resources Mrs. Serah Ochekpe.

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Thursday, 19 September 2019

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