While receiving security report of the 2017 pilgrimage on Monday in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Rev. Tor Uja disclosed that 100 Christian pilgrims absconded during the 2017 pilgrimage to Israel.
Uja who stated that the 100 pilgrims who absconded were from five states in Nigeria, added that a serving soldier, a police inspector and a lecturer were among the absconders. He noted that no pilgrim absconded in Rome and Greece.
Though he did not disclose the states the pilgrims were from, the NCPC Boss said that pilgrims absconded during pilgrimage as a result of their colonial mindset. He however explained that as part of the efforts of the commission to check pilgrims from absconding, the commission has decided to increase the security surveillance during pilgrimage.
Uja who explained that the coming together of Nigeria was beyond what the colonialists conceived, described it as an act of God. He further said Nigeria is a nation of the future. Stringent measures the commission has come up with that would discourage pilgrims from absconding include, blacklisting states with penchant for absconding, publishing the names of absconders and their guarantors in national newspapers, and prosecuting them eventually.
According to him, Christian pilgrimage under his leadership is focused on three aspects which are enhancing the spiritual content of pilgrimage, using pilgrimage to showcase the great beauty and capacity that Nigeria has and using Christian pilgrimage to promote national development. NAN reported that he said the forum would make Christians go on pilgrimage ,and come back as better persons.
“It is time to build this country and to give it foundation; it is time to give this country a character; it is time to give this country a vision and a hope.
“It is time to make Nigerians know that our land is a land of great opportunities.
“We have more opportunities in Nigeria than in America and in Israel.
“We have better land than anywhere else, what we are going to get is a revitalisation to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ afresh and to have a revamping of our spiritual lives” he said.