The Federal Government has warned Nigerian pilgrims against making illegal and unauthorised trips while in the holy land, as the bloody conflict between the State of Israel and Hamas militant group which has claimed hundreds of lives continues.
In reaction to the situation, the Lagos State authorities suspended the planned airlifting of pilgrims in the state on Monday as the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, Rev Yakubu Pam gave his advice.
Pam, while speaking at an orientation programme for the intending pilgrims for the last batch of the Easter pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan, said any pilgrim who engaged in any illegal act would be deported.
In the words of Pam, “The commission would not hesitate to deport any pilgrim who plans to abscond during pilgrimage.’’
Meanwhile, for the intending pilgrims, the orientation programme was held both in Abuja and Lagos, respectively and was supervised by the Mobilization Department of the commission.
Pam who expressed optimism that the crisis in Israel would soon de-escalate and would afford the last batch of pilgrims the opportunity to visit Israel from Jordan, assured intending consular and self-sponsored pilgrims that their safety remained a “top priority of the commission.’’
NCPC boss while speaking on the security situation in Israel, the stated, “The current fragile security situation in Israel is majorly being felt in Southern Israel, which is not within our pilgrimage circle.’’
According to a statement signed by NCPC’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Celestine Toruka, the executive secretary disclosed that the pilgrims would commence their journey on Tuesday (today) and arrive in Amman, Jordan on Wednesday, where they would spend four days, before proceeding to Israel, “depending on the security situation by then.”
He explained that Jordan is blessed with a lot of biblical Holy sites which encapsulated the old testament while Israel represented the new testament thereby making the pilgrimage experience ‘a complete Bible.’
He hinted that the fifth batch of pilgrims currently undergoing pilgrimage in Israel had successfully crossed over to Amman, Jordan and would arrive in Nigeria on Monday (yesterday).
The statement read, “The NCPC boss also revealed that he was reliably informed that some group of private pilgrims from Nigeria arrived in Israel on 9th October to begin their pilgrimage exercise.
He maintained that the current fragile security situation in Israel was majorly being felt in Southern Israel which is not within our pilgrimage circle.
‘’However, he assured them that their safety is of paramount concern to the commission and that their pilgrimage journey would commence on October 10, 2023 to arrive Amman, Jordan on October 11, 2023 where they are expected to spend about three to four days before proceeding to Israel, depending on the security situation of Israel by then.
‘’Rev. Pam cautioned the intending consular and self-sponsored intending pilgrims to desist from any negative tendencies that might affect the completion of their pilgrimage exercise. In his words, “The commission would not hesitate to deport any pilgrim who plans to abscond during pilgrimage.”