.. Promises to end abscondment of pilgrims
The executive secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, NCPC, Rev. Yakubu Pam has called on the Governors in the South South States to increase their sponsorship of Christians to the Holy Land.
Rev. Pam made the call recently in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State during a meeting with the States Chairmen and Secretaries of Christian Pilgrims Welfare Boards in the South South geo – political zone.
In the words of the NCPC boss, “I plead with the Governors in the South South to lift up the numbers they are sponsoring; it is too low”.
Rev. Pam posited that if states in the north with high percentage of Muslims could sponsor reasonable number of Christians to the Holy land, how much more states in the South South with about Ninety Five percent Christian population.
He stressed that pilgrimage is the only dividend of democracy that the church enjoys which provides them the opportunity to travel to Israel to build their faith in God.
He called on the states and the federal government to come up with more youth empowerment programmes in order to actively engage them in meaningful venture. He tasked the youth to be creative and should not put their minds on white collar jobs.
The NCPC helmsman further charged the Federal and State Governments to address the issue of insecurity in the country, stating that security should not be left in the hands of the government alone. In his words, “we must rise up to see how we can save this country from its present security challenges”.
The No. 1 Christian Pilgrims Officer of the Federation, commended the infrastructural development of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State.
He particularly scored him high for his initiative to be the first state to have its own functional airline in Nigeria – ‘Ibom Air’ coupled with the industrial revolution of his administration.
The NCPC chief executive officer also hinted that the Commission would set up an Agricultural desk to harness and stimulate agricultural contents of pilgrimage where the youths would be exposed to skill acquisition programmes in Israel and come back to Nigeria to replicate the knowledge acquired.
Speaking at the event, the Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Udom Emmanuel stated that his administration had ensured very peaceful atmosphere in the state, hence they were able to provide transformational leadership for the people of Akwa Ibom State.
The Governor who spoke through the commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs. Ini Adiakpan congratulated Rev. Pam for his well-deserved appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Governor Emmanuel affirmed that his government was committed to the spiritual well-being of his people and as such would continue to support anything that would advance the cause of Christian pilgrimage in the state.
He charged the NCPC boss to use his good offices to unite the Christians and bring people closer to Christ.
His words, “as the Executive Secretary, you will further help to bring people to Christ more than ever before”.
He explained that with the current insecurity in the country, there was need to redirect our youths to God so that the level of criminality among the youths would drop drastically.
In his remarks, the chairman of Akwa Ibom State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Archbishop Cletus Bassey thanked the NCPC boss for the choice of Uyo for the meeting of the South South Pilgrimage Leaders.
He averred that the emergence of Rev. Pam as the executive secretary of NCPC would usher in a new vista of hope and development in the Commission.
His words, “we believe your emergence will inject a new blood in NCPC’.
The chairman thanked the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN in the state for their support.
The Theme of the NCPC stakeholders meeting is “Creating Inclusive Governance Atmosphere”
This is coming just as the Commission assured that it would do everything possible to discourage and put an end to abscondment of pilgrims during pilgrimage.
He made the disclosure recently in Umuahia, Abia state during a strategic stakeholders meeting with the states Chairmen and secretaries of the Pilgrims Welfare Boards in the South East geo political zone.
In the words of the NCPC boss, “we are ready to deal with the abscondment of pilgrims during pilgrimage”.
He explained that one of the strategies to discourage the menace of abscondment would be to put in place tougher measures for the guarantors to endorse so that when a Pilgrim absconds the guarantor would be made to bear the brunt and if possible risk being arrested by security operatives.
He decried the fact that South East has the highest number of abscondment during pilgrimage.
He called on the South East Governors to embrace pilgrimage by increasing their sponsorship of intending pilgrims to Israel.
He hinted that the zone remained the least zone in terms of the sponsorship of pilgrims despite having about 95 percent Christian population.
He posited that one of the ways Christians could benefit from the dividends of democracy is through their participation in pilgrimage.
He intimated that the cost of this year’s general pilgrimage to Israel has been slashed to enable most Christians participate in the spiritual exercise.
To this end, he called on the governors of the zone and Church leaders to cash in on the reduction in this year’s pilgrimage to sponsor reasonable number of Pilgrims to the Holy Land.
The No 1 Christian Pilgrim Officer of the Federation stated that the reason for the stakeholders meeting was to harmonise the existing relationship between the Commission and the States Christian Pilgrims welfare boards.
He explained that NCPC plays a regulatory role for Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria while the states bring the pilgrims.
He equally called on States without a properly constituted Boards to ensure that they set up boards in such such States so that their pilgrimage operations would be seamless.
He appealed to the states pilgrimage leaders to share and Exchange ideas and experiences so that they would all be on the same page of functionality.
He further admonished the states pilgrimage leaders to ensure that they build relationships with the government and the church.
He expantiated that pilgrimage is about relationship building which is part of his six points agenda.
Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman of the Anambra state Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Prof. Steve Ibenta congratulated the NCPC boss on behalf of other states chairmen and secretaries of States Christian Pilgrims welfare boards in the zone on his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
His words, “we in unity congratulate you on your well deserved appointment, it is God’s decision”.
He prayed that God would provide him all the graces he needs to function effectively.