Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Catholic Action Nigeria (CAN) and the Catholic Media Professionals Association of Nigeria (CAMPAN) have reminded President Muhammadu Buhari, that the National Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) has been under interim management in the past few months.
President Buhari sacked Tor Ujah, as the Executive Secretary, of NCPC, in August, over allegation of corruption and maladministration. Esther Kwaghe, Director of Administration in the Commission, was asked to oversee the office pending the appointment of substantive Executive Secretary.
The groups said the interim administration structure in the Commission has slowed official activities at the Commission, thus resulting in poorly-planned pilgrimage and stagnation in several other activities.
A statement jointly signed by Peter Agbontean, Chairman, Board of Trustees Catholic Action Nigeria, and Patrick Osu, National President CAMPAN, noted that the action had hindered the NCPC activities to a point that pilgrimage had been improperly organised with poor result.
The groups said their concerns were that Christmas without pilgrimage for Nigerian Christians with over 40 percent of the population (90 million) was unhealthy for the Christian faith.
He said: “Christmas is a sacred season and those who cannot go to Bethlehem of Judea, though can create their own grotto and venerate it until such a time they get the support or resources to visit, would have been better off by the Grotto of Jesus in Bethlehem.
“Pilgrimage makes Christians feel fulfilled carrying out their spiritual obligations. It’s a journey of faith every Christian should aspire. It is a spiritual obligation. How else can one have a vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, which we aspire towards, if we do not have a vision of the earthly one where we are presently.”
They called on Christians to remain peaceful and use the season of Christmas to pray for the unity of Nigeria, as well as abide by the teachings of Christ, which is love for God and neighbour.
“Let’s build on what unites us rather than what divides us. Let’s mend our ways, encourage each other and live harmoniously. If we make peace our watchword, the God of peace will be with us and remain with us all,” they added.