By Innocent Odoh The Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) Rev.Tor Uja has said that the Commission would put a mechanism in place to ensure that any Nigerian who helps pilgrims to abscond in the Holy Land would be prosecuted.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the spokesman of the commission, Celesine Oguguo, from Jerusalem, noted that the NCPC boss made the disclosure at the Embassy of Nigeria in Tel Aviv, Israel during the signing of contract with Ground Handlers for the 2016 pilgrimage exercise.
He condemned any Nigerian pilgrims who use the platform of pilgrimage to abscond in the Holy Land adding that there might be need to include stiffer penalties for guarantors of intending pilgrims in order to discourage those who may want to abscond.
The NCPC Boss posited that he would want Nigerians to stay in Nigeria and be responsible for the development of their country, the statement said.
He disclosed that from next year all contract signing with Ground Handlers would be done in Nigeria, saying,” this will be the last time it will be signed in Israel”.
He also revealed that with effect from next year all the Pilgrimage Leaders which comprised chairmen and Secretaries of State Christian Pilgrim Welfare Boards should be dressed in Nigerian National Colour. In the same vein, he equally tasked the Ground Handlers to ensure from this year’s pilgrimage that all their promotional materials are done in Nigerian national colour of green white green.
He affirmed, “I am a glad, joyful and proud ebullient Nigerian product, I want every Nigerian to be proud of his country”. He advised Nigerians to replicate every good innovations found in other countries back home.
Rev. Uja further disclosed that come 2017 he would bring Nigerian executives to Israel on a specialized pilgrimage. He stressed that there would be a holistic advancement in Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria next year.
He intimated the Ground Handlers that the Commission had started a revolution in Nigeria with the successful hosting of two conferences for pilgrimage Leaders and Managers of Nigeria.He explained that the conference afforded participants the opportunity to pray together, opportunity to re define purpose and to choose the direction to go.
He Thanked the government of Nigeria, the government of Israel, the Charge d’ Affairs Embassy of Nigeria and her team as well as the Ground Handlers for their support, the statement added.
At the meeting with pilgrimage leaders in Jerusalem, the NCPC boss inaugurated three separate committees to strengten pilgrimage process. These include committee on meals and accommodation, committee on sites and committee on management of pilgrimage. He informed them that every two years there would be need to value the Holy sites.
In her remark, the Charge d’ Affairs, Embassy of Nigeria, TEL AVIV, Mrs Frankie Obianagha thanked the Executive Secretary for being able to organise the meeting considering the fact that it was not too long he assumed duty as the NCPC boss. She pledged her support and the support of all the Embassy staff in the advancement of christian pilgrimage..
She tasked the Ground Handlers to always improve on their services and improve in the area of communication especially with the Embassy. She equally charged them to support one another especially when pilgrims arrived at the airport which she said should be a collective responsibility. She further admonished them to re strategise on every experience they have.
All the approved Ground Handlers in Israel and many of the state chairmen and secretaries participated in this year’s State of Readiness visit which commenced on 14th September in Rome through Greeece and came to a successful end on 21st September, 2016 in Israel.