The Lagos State Government has airlifted 250 Christian to the kingdom of Jordan for the 2021 pilgrimage, just as it charged the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the country.
It said that Jordan was picked after the Israeli Government shuts its border for religious exercise over the possible spread of coronavirus and insecurity particularly as it engaged Pakistans in a fierce battle.
Addressing the intending pilgrims before they were airlifted, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam, explained that the choice of Jordan was not to replace the status of Jerusalem but an opportunity to explore Jordan as part of the holy sites mentioned in the Bible.
Pam said, “Jordan is not a replacement for Jerusalem as it is just like going to Greece or Rome for pilgrimage. This is part of the mandate of NCPC, which states that Israel and other holy lands as contained in the bible can be visited for pilgrimage”.
While imploring the pilgrims to obey the instructions of their tour guide during the exercise, he urged them to note that the journey is not for individual benefits alone, therefore, they should pray fervently for the progress of the State and country.
The Executive Secretary appealed to the pilgrims to observe all COVID-19 protocols and obey spiritual authority, maintaining that arrangements for their feeding, accommodation, and security have been made.
He, however, warned those with the mindset of using the pilgrimage exercise to abscond the country to reconsider their stance as adequate checks have been put in place to prevent such acts.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Christian Religion, Olubukola Adeleke, also urged the pilgrims to use the opportunity of the exercise to pray the country particularly Lagos State while on the pilgrimage.
Adeleke, however, enjoined them to see the pilgrimage as a spiritual exercise and not for sight-seeing alone, appealing to participants to remain good ambassadors of the State and Country.
On her part, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB), Florence Gbafe, commended the State Government for providing the platform for a seamless journey, informing the 250 Pilgrims that the journey will be energy-sapping, thus they should consult medical personnel on the team pertaining to any personal health issue they might have.