…As 2016 Christian Pilgrimage Recorded No Deaths, Harassment And No Police Arrests
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Rev. Tor Uja has disclosed that the Commission would hold Farmers Pilgrimage Conference in July this year.
He made this disclosure over the weekend at an official dinner in Abuja organized for the visiting Israeli Special Envoy to Africa, Mr. Gideon Behr, and the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Guy Feldman.
He explained that the Farmers Conference would be done in junction with the Israeli Agricultural experts. He stressed that Israel has advanced its agriculture to the extent that it has become one of the best in the world.
He further explained that Nigeria has the potentials to be great in Agriculture but needs the collaboration of Israeli agricultural experts to achieve this.
Rev. Uja explained that the idea of having the Farmers pilgrimage this year is to expose Nigerian farmers to the agricultural technology of Israel.
The NCPC boss stated that Nigeria is a friend of Israel and Nigerians love the nation Israel. He therefore canvassed for increased partnership between the two countries. His words, “it is important to build on what we have.”
Rev. Uja stressed the need for Bilateral Air Service Agreement with the State of Israel (BASA) to be signed so that Nigerian pilgrims could fly directly to Israel, thereby saving time on board.
He stressed that pilgrimage should help to increase the spirituality of pilgrims. He called on Church leaders to engage themselves with biblical principles and avoid things that do not have any bearing to Christian faith.
The NCPC boss also hinted that the Commission had entered into a development partnership with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to promote pilgrimage in Nigeria and promote peace in the country.
In his remark at the event, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Guy Feldman stated that Israel as a nation has been blessed with milk and honey though it is a country that is 65 percent desert. He admitted that Nigeria has what it takes to be great in all spheres.
He explained that a week ago Israel celebrated her 69th independence anniversary in grand style with the children of IDP’s in the North East state of Adamawa. He also revealed that the Israeli government had offered 100 of them scholarships.
Also in his brief remark, the Special Envoy to Africa, Mr. Gideon Behr prayed profusely for the well-being of Nigeria. He said he would like to see the private companies in Israel do business with their counterparts in Nigeria and would like to see that pilgrims continue to come to the Holy land on pilgrimage.
The official dinner was organized by NCPC in honour of the two Envoys. Some members of Board of NCPC and top management staff joined the Executive Secretary, Rev. Tor Uja in hosting the two Envoys.
In a related event, NCPC has disclosed that the 2016 Christian Pilgrimage to Israel, Rome and Greece recorded no death, no harassment and no police arrests.
This was made this known recently in Abuja while the NCPC boss was receiving the security report of the 2016 pilgrimage to Israel, Rome and Greece.
He stated that the commission has a well-organized and structured security committee that helps in addressing the issues of security while on pilgrimage. He stressed that one of the major responsibilities Nigeria has for its citizens is to provide adequate security.
As a part of the commission’s strategy to check defection of pilgrims while in the Holy Land, he explained that NCPC would intensify its screening mechanism to bring abscondment to zero per cent. He further described defection of pilgrims in the Holy Land as an announcement of sickness.
Rev. Uja hinted that the Commission would soon come up with stringent measures that would discourage abscondment. Such measures according to him would include black listing states with penchant for abscondment, publishing the names of absconders and their guarantors in national newspapers, and prosecuting them eventually.
The NCPC boss commended the Nigerian pilgrims for demonstrating high degrees of decorum in Israel, he described them as “most joyful, elegant and great people.”
He commended the members of the security committee for their selfless service to Nigeria.
He promised to look into the report of the committee with a view to implementing their recommendations in subsequent pilgrimage exercises.
Earlier, the Chairman, Security Committee for the 2016 Christian pilgrimage, Major General Emmanuel Nienge (RTD), thanked the Executive Secretary for the opportunity given to the members of the committee to serve.
He explained that the committee was inaugurated on 1st Nov. 2016 with the mandate to coordinate all the security operations for a hitch free 2016 main pilgrimage in Israel, Rome and Greece.
Gen. Nienge further informed that under his watchful eyes as the chairman of the security committee, there was no major incident recorded in the Holy Land, no loss of life and the only single case of deportation was professionally handled and few cases of abscondment was reported and handled accordingly.