The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission NCPC, Rev. Yakubu Pam has said the Commission has put in place tight security measures to checkmate abscondment of Pilgrims in the Kingdom of Jordan.
Pam disclosed this at the official flag off of the 2020 Christian Pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Jordan, at the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Heipang, Barkin Ladi, Plateau State.
He said, pilgrimage is not a tourist attraction as many view it, but a spiritual exercise.
“We believe those who are embarking on this year’s pilgrimage should know that we shall be engaged in praying not only for ourselves but the nation.
“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”, he maintained.
“Today, as we mark this historic ceremony, may I officially announce that after thorough screening of intending pilgrims nationwide, 2, 500 Christians Pilgrims are performing the 2020 pilgrimage to Jordan,” he added.
The Executive Secretary also announced the appointment of the CAN National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, to serve as the spiritual leader/father of the trip.
Pam commended Governor Simon Lalong for his efforts in ensuring that pilgrims were flown from the Heipang Airport.
While flagging off the exercise, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State said, “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”, he admonished.
On the issue of abscondment, the Governor said, “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”, he warned.
“We shall not take it lightly with those who attempt to bring the name of our State and country to disrepute”, Lalong stressed.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of Plateau State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Very Rev. Father George Gorap, said the milestone achieved by airlifting pilgrims from the Heipang Airport, will boost economic activities in the state.
He also said the State has the largest contingent of 617 pilgrims, of that number, 200 are a spillover of the 2019 pilgrims.
There were also Pilgrims from Bauchi and Gombe States.