Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) said on Tuesday that it has slashed the cost of 2020 pilgrimage to Israel.
The decision, according to NCPC, was to encourage more people to participate in the spiritual exercise when the international skies are safe for flight, and also reduce the burden on intending pilgrims considering the current state of the economy.
A statement from NCPC indicated that NCPC Executive Secretary Rev Yakubu Pam disclosed the information at stakeholders meeting with chairmen and secretaries of states Christian Pilgrims welfare boards in the North-East zone.
He explained that, as at the time he resumed office in July, the proposed pilgrimage cost was N881,000. But after due consideration, the cost was slashed down to N710,000 as against N715,000 package cost for last year’s general pilgrimage exercise.
He said the Commission observed that a lot of Christians look up to traveling to Israel at least once in their life time to participate in the pilgrimage exercise, but could not afford the cost, thereby, denying them to opportunity for lifetime experience.
He urged State Governments to, at least, sponsor a good number of some to participate in the Pilgrimage exercise.
The NCPC boss commended Gombe State for their effort in keeping peace and unity among different religion in the State, describing the state as one of the most peaceful states in the North-East.
He condemned the spate of killings in the North-East which, he said, had claimed the hundreds of lives of innocent people.
‘I believe that we have a common enemy in northern Nigeria that we must join hands to fight,’ he added.
He equally called on the six governors of the North-East States to collaborate in order to flush out insurgency in their zone.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Gombe State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr Ishaku Karu, in his remarks, said it was a great privilege and honour for Gombe state to be chosen to host the meeting of state pilgrimage leaders in the North-East.
He commended the Governor of Gombe State, Inuwa Yahaya, for his support, particularly in advancing the cause of Christian pilgrimage in the State.