The Executive Secretary Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Rev Dr Yakubu Pam has flagged off the 2023 Easter pilgrimage exercise to Israel and Jordan in Owerri, Imo state capital.
The event which took place on 28th April, 2023 at the Government House Chapel, Owerri attracted high profile personalities and major stakeholders, especially the clergy and the Christian community.
The NCPC boss in his remarks affirmed that the Commission has a policy of ensuring that flag off events of the Commission are held in the state with the highest number of pilgrims, hence the Easter pilgrimage flag off was brought to Owerri as the Imo state government sponsored the highest number of pilgrims in this exercise.
He described the gesture of the Executive Governor of Imo state, Senator Hope Uzodinma as unprecedented for having sponsored the highest number of pilgrims in recent time, thereby declaring Imo state as the first in the federation.
The highly excited Executive Secretary of NCPC said he was happy to identify with the governor whom he described as the “Chief Mobilizer of pilgrims”for the Commission.,
He averred that NCPC encourages sponsorship of pilgrims and the pilgrimage activities of the Commission helps to encourage spiritual growth and promote national unity.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for advancing the cause of pilgrimage in Nigeria for both Christian pilgrimage and Hajj.
He urged the intending Pilgrims to pray for the state and the country in the Holy land while admonishing them to ensure they come back to the country after their pilgrimage experience as the Commission would not tolerate any case of abscondment.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Imo State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Rev. Fr Gilbert Alaribe thanked the Executive Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma for his generousity in sponsorsoring 1000 intending Pilgrims to Israel and Jordan.
He explained that since 2014 Imo State had not sponsored christians to the Holy land, stating that no past administration in the state had ever sponsored these number of christians to the Holy land.
The Chairman disclosed that the Governor directed him to reach out to the less privileged christians in all the rural areas in the state to include them in the pilgrimage exercise.
He urged the intending Pilgrims to pray for the Governor, for his good health and for lasting peace in the state.
In his address at the event, the Executive Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma stated that since his assumption of office he promised he would continue to support evangelism and Christian pilgrimage activities because according to him, ” without God nothing works”.
He thanked God Almighty for the opportunity given to his people to visit the Holy land, he stressed that the Holy land had a way of affecting the lives of the people positively.
Governor Uzodinma said the intending Pilgrims were representatives of the people as such they were expected to go to the Holy land of Israel on behalf of the people of the state.His words, ” you are going as a representative of the people”.
He urged the intending Pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the state and Nigeria by conducting themselves well in Israel.
He cautioned the intending Pilgrims to shun abscondment and ensure they come back to the country. His words,” you must come back with others so that you do not spoil our record, because what we say is what we do”.
The first batch of intending Pilgrims of Imo State made up of about 300 were airlifted through the Port Harcourt International Airport direct to Amman, kingdom of Jordan where they are expected to spend three nights before proceeding to Israel.
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