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Sanwo-Olu cautions pilgrims against turning religious site-visit to tourism

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has asked intending Christian Pilgrims to see pilgrimage exercise as a spiritually journey to boost their faith rather than consider visit to the holy lands as site-seeing and relaxation.

Sanwo-Olu said that trip outside the country was designed to emphasise that the journey was for spiritual rejuvenation which further brings to reality all the stories in the Bible.

She cautioned 2022 intending Christian pilgrims against converting the journey to site-seeing during the Service of Dedication organised by the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB), themed: “Tourist or Pilgrim”.

The wife of the governor, meanwhile, prayed that the pilgrimage exercise will mark a turning point in the way participants handle their relationship with God and the people around them.

Calling on all pilgrims yesterday to observe COVID-19 safety protocols and take necessary precautions against monkeypox, Sanwo-Olu thanked the Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs and LSCPWB for successful take-off of the pilgrimage exercise.

Earlier, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, noted that the event was organised to dedicate and commit all the intending pilgrims as well as State officials to God as they proceed on pilgrimage to the holy lands of Israel and Jordan.

He enjoined the intending pilgrims to see the pilgrimage exercise as purely a spiritual journey and not the time for vacation abroad.

“May I also remind us that the Pilgrimage Exercise is purely a spiritual journey and not a vacation, for this reason, you will be invited to attend early morning devotion, just as you will visit many biblical historical sites where you will offer prayers”.

The Commissioner also enjoined the pilgrims to offer prayers of intercession for their families, loved ones, Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole while expressing thanks to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his commitment and benevolence towards the Ministry and its Agencies.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Sewedo Oluseyi Whenu, charged intending pilgrims to shun abscondment or misconduct during the exercise.

Also speaking, the Chairman, LSCPWB, Babatunde Akinpelu-Johnson, in his sermon on “Tourist or Pilgrim”, admonished the intending pilgrims to expect something different during the pilgrimage exercise and anticipate that God will meet them in a special way.

Reiterating that the essence of the Holy Pilgrimage is to gain deeper insight into the Ministry of Christ while on earth, he said, “As an ambassador, carry out the instructions, don’t be distracted, have an expectation that you want to receive the blessings of God”.

The Board Secretary, Yetunde Gbafe, also thanked the governor for his immense support, just as she applauded the intending pilgrims for their patronage of the Board for the spiritual exercise.

Gbafe enjoined the intending pilgrims to be their brothers’ keepers, good ambassadors and participate fully in the pilgrimage exercise.

The event also had in attendance the Special Adviser to Governor on Christian Religion, Bukola Adeleke; representative of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) Chairman, Chris Odegbuna, Presiding Chaplain of Christ the Light Chapel, Venerable, Ezekiel Oluwadare, and Board Members, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board among others.

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