By Innocent Odoh The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, Rev. Tor Uja has said that the Commission would soon establish six special pilgrimage zones to bring pilgrimage nearer to the people.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the head of the media section of the commission, Celestine Oguguo, noted that the NCPC boss made this disclosure at Goshen City, Nasarawa State during the second Conference of Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers in Nigeria.
According to the NCPC boss the six special zones would be established in Lagos, Abuja Metropolis, Gombe, Onitsha, Port-Harcourt and Kano.
He explained that there are three major purposes of Christian pilgrimage namely total obedience to Christ for all those who go on pilgrimage, the need to promote Leadership and nationalism among those who go on pilgrimage and the inspiring development and productivity which means that anyone who goes on pilgrimage should come back challenged.
“I want Nigerians especially the Church to change the perception of the world about Nigeria,” he said.
Rev. Uja appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring fairness for whatever he gives to the Muslims he also gives to Christians.
He especially urged the leaders of the Church to rise up in building this country on concrete pillars. He maintained that this country should encourage values and not regions, the statement said.
He also appreciated well-meaning individuals for sponsoring Christians on holy pilgrimage.
Rev. Uja further commended the Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo for appointing a first class traditional ruler in the person of Chief Abdu Budu Maisheru II as the Chairman of the State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board.
He informed that NCPC has concluded plans to introduce a pilgrimage for all traditional rulers in 2017. He posited that traditional rulers should bring their subjects under God’s control.
He revealed that this year’s main pilgrimage would begin on 29th October and end on 22nd December, adding that the Commission would organise a two -day convocation in Israel from 17th – 19th November. He explained that the convocation in Israel would be held at Mount Zion. According to Rev. Uja “I want all Christians to participate in prayer on Mount Zion in Israel.” He assured that hence forth every pilgrimage operator must take the pilgrims to pray on Mount Zion.
He urged all the Pilgrimage Leaders Participating in the Conference to take the experience serious and endeavour to replicate it in their various State.
He further informed that the Commission would Nigerianize the entire pilgrimage process by ensuring that all souvenirs from Ground Handlers are produced in Nigeria national colours.
Rev. Uja also disclosed that from next year every pilgrimage contract must be signed in Nigeria that the era of signing pilgrimage contracts abroad was over.
In his remark, the Chairman of Conference of States and Chairman Taraba State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board, Rev. Isaiah Magaji called for more support for Christian Pilgrimage.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Gombe State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board. HRH. Dr. Abdu Buba Maisheru II affirmed that this was the first time a first class traditional ruler would be on the board of the State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board. He explained that the Gombe State Governor. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo had started rebranding the State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board.
The Chairman Lagos State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Board, Bishop Olusola Ore thanked God for what the Lord is doing in NCPC. He stressed that he was so excited about the spiritual content that is being inculcated in the entire Christian Pilgrimage process in Nigeria under the new leadership of NCPC.
He also said: “I believe that with what God is doing presently in NCPC the government would have a rethink about its stand on pilgrimage”.
The theme of the Conference was Developing Christian Pilgrimage in Nigeria. The Conference lasted between 12th and 14th September 2016, the statement added.