Lalong admonishes pilgrims to pray for Nigeria, refrain from absconding


Photo: Intending pilgrims awaiting takeoff

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has admonished this year’s intending Christian pilgrims to the Kingdom of Jordan to utilize the exercise to pray for the peace and security of Nigeria, as well as for individual spiritual self-development.

The governor who gave the charge on Saturday in Jos at the inauguration of the airlifting of the pilgrims at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, also warned them against absconding while in Jordan.

“Dear intending pilgrims, you are embarking on this spiritual exercise at a time when our nation is in dire need for prayers and rejuvenation because of the myriad of security and economic challenges we face.

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“It is very important that you present our nation before God and solemnly reflect on your role as believers in building a better Nigeria.

“Indeed, when we turn to God with a sincere heart, our land will be healed. Please pray earnestly for Plateau and Nigeria while you are there.”

Lalong warned that Nigeria would not accept any case of absconding by any pilgrim while in the host country and urged the pilgrims to conduct themselves in a manner that would project the image of the country positively.

“While you are on this pilgrimage, you should be mindful that your conduct will either open more doors for others to also visit the Holy Land or close it.

“In this era of COVID-19, you must adhere strictly to the guidelines outlined by the NCPC and the host country. The COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent and every caution must be taken to safeguard lives.

“We have also put in place stringent measures to check unwholesome conduct such as abscondment by some pilgrims who use the exercise as a cover for irregular migration.

“Let me warn that any pilgrim that is caught trying to abscond will be made to face the full wrath of the law. We shall not take it lightly with those who attempt to bring the name of our state and country to disrepute,” he added.

In his remark at the event, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam assured that adequate security and other measures had been put in place to curb the issue of absconding by any pilgrim.

According to him, all intending Pilgrims have been vaccinated in line with the Federal Government’s directives on COVID-19 protocols, stressing that due diligence was being followed both here in Nigeria and in Jordan.

“The Commission has put every security measure on ground to check would-be defaulters. During the screening, we were careful to dig information regarding every intending pilgrim and to the best of our ability, we shall have zero abscondment as we embark on this Jordan experience, God permitting.

“We assure all pilgrims who have been shortlisted for this journey of adequate protection, feeding, and accommodation.

“The airlift which is expected to start immediately after the ceremony will be in batches. We anticipate more barges to be added as we embark on this Holy exercise,” Pam said.

The NCPC boss disclosed that no fewer than 2,500 Christian Pilgrims would perform the pilgrimage to Jordan nationwide, adding that the airlifting would begin immediately.

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