Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), has confirmed that it compelled all its service providers involved in pilgrimage services to patronize Nigeria in all their deals except the ones that could not be sourced locally.
It said the move was in line with the Federal Government determination to strongly promote made in Nigeria products, thus boosting the economy.
The Commission said it realized recently that its service providers took advantage of huge number of pilgrims from Nigeria, to make great fortune to the detriment of Nigerian economy hence the urgent need to change the earlier agreements.
Its Executive Secretary, Rev. Tor Ujah, said that they were asked to quickly re-adjust their plans to accommodate the interest of Nigeria or risk termination of contracts with the commission.
Ujah told stakeholders involved in pilgrimage services at a maiden Areopagus pilgrimage open house in Abuja, that the Commission succeeded in compelling the service providers to customize all items that would be used by the pilgrims from henceforth.
He explained that Areopagus open house, was a free and relaxed platform for stakeholders involved in pilgrimage services to critically examine the process thus far, discuss identified challenges and proffer superior solution to the problems.
He said: “Nigeria is among countries with the high number of pilgrims that visit Israel and other holy sites. And we, undoubtedly, contribute hugely to the economy of the host nations. Therefore we deserve special recognition and attention, and that was what we demanded.
“Few months ago, I held a meeting with all our service providers and we had collective agreement that they readjust their plans particularly for Nigerian pilgrims. We agreed that they would, henceforth, produce our needed items in Nigeria and also customized in Nigerian colour.
“That has greatly saved us huge resources and stress. It gave us huge recognition and also contributed significantly to our economy and most importantly, create more job opportunities.”
Meanwhile, opportunity was provided for stakeholders to ask questions and get necessary clarifications as regards the stages of pilgrimage services as well as their responsibilities.