28 August 2020 by Kayode Oyedare
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission NCPC, Reverend Yakubu Pam says the Commission will do everything possible to put an end to abscondment of pilgrims during pilgrimages . He stated this in Umuahia, Abia state during a strategic stakeholders meeting with the State Chairmen and Secretaries of Pilgrims Welfare Boards in the South East Geo Political zone. He explained that one of the strategies to discourage the trend would be to put in place tougher measures for guarantors so that when a Pilgrim absconds the guarantor would be made to bear the brunt and the risk of arrest by security operatives. He decried the fact that the South East has the highest number of Abscondment. The NCPC boss called on the South East Governors to embrace the pilgrimage by increasing their sponsorship of pilgrims to Israel. According to him, the South East zone remained the least in terms of sponsorship of pilgrims despite having about 95 percent Christian population. Reverend Yakubu Pam posited that one of the ways Christians could benefit from the dividends of democracy is through their participation in the pilgrimage. He intimated that the cost of this year’s pilgrimage to Israel has been slashed to enable many Christians participate in the spiritual exercise.
He therefore called on 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 State Christian Pilgrims welfare boards. He equally called on States without a properly constituted Board to ensure they set it up so that their pilgrimage operations would be seamless. Rev Pam also appealed to State pilgrim leaders to share and Exchange ideas and experiences so that they would all be on the same page of functionality. 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 State Chairmen and Secretaries of Christian Pilgrims Welfare Boards in the zone on his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The theme of the stakeholders meeting is “Creating Inclusive Government Atmosphere” .