Seventeen intending pilgrims to Isreal from Niger State have been denied visas and will not partake in this year’s pilgrimage scheduled to begin on Friday in Jerusalem.
It was also learnt that Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello is sponsoring only 31 Christians for the pilgrimage.
Leader of the Niger State Christian Pilgrims delegation to this years pilgrimage, Pastor Yerima El’Yakim Samaila, disclosed this yesterday in Minna during the orientation programme for intending pilgrims.
He further disclosed that 171 pilgrims from Niger State would be airlifted from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to perform pilgrimage to the Holy Land in January this year, starting from Thursday, January 2, 2020.
In his address, Niger State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Mathias Echioda, said the pilgrimage was needed to strengthen the faith of Christians.
“The spiritual exercise is very important, we need to strengthen our faith,” he said.
Acting Director, Christian Department, Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Joanna Pada, warned the intending pilgrims against absconding while in the Holy Land.
She said: “Nobody should try to abscond because it brings embarrassment to Nigeria as a country.
“As part of our responsibilities to monitor the activities of pilgrims, we met and brainstormed to ensure that adequate arrangement is made in terms of transportation, feeding, and accommodation.”
She urged the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the state and the country by exhibiting good behavior at all times during their stay in the Holy Land.