Fred Itua, Abuja
Hundreds of Nigerian pilgrims drawn from different states of the Federation converged in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, to offer prayers for Nigeria.
The prayer session kicked off at about 9am (Israeli time).
In his message, head of the spiritual delegation and FCT Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Michael Akpami, urged pilgrims to remain worthy ambassadors of Nigeria.
He said though the country is passing through a turbulent phase, God will intervene and fight the enemies of Nigeria.
The clergyman also conducted special prayer sessions for pilgrims going through different difficult phases in life and urged them to remain steadfast.
Pilgrimage to Israel is an annual ritual embarked on by Nigerian Christians. The pilgrimage is spearheaded by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), with local support from State Pilgrims Boards.
The current crop of pilgrims in Israel fall under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) contingent, managed by the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board.
During the nine-day exercise, pilgrims are expected to visit selected holy sites in Israel and Palestine territories.
Some of the sites include Mount of Transfiguration, Jericho, the Dead Sea, the Wailing Wall, birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem, among others.
In October 2013, Goodluck Jonathan became the first sitting Nigerian President to go on a pilgrimage in Israel since the country got its independence in 1960.
Jonathan, had while speaking during a special church service, stated: “This is the first time the pilgrimage is taking this shape. I believe we will continue in this spirit. Let me reassure you even though we are passing through challenging periods, God has made it possible for us to be here. Even in the scripture, we’ve seen the many battles the Jews are fighting. But because of their zeal and commitments, God has kept them.
“We’ve learnt from the history of Israel. Every nation passes through challenges. We all have a role to play. We need to leave a better nation for our people. We promised to change the way things are done and we’ve achieved that in the electoral laws. Evil forces will never bring us down. We will overcome. This is the turning point in our midst. Nigeria will never remain the same again after this.”