Ben Ezechime, Enugu
No fewer than 300 pilgrims sponsored by the Enugu State Government have departed Enugu for Israel as part of the 2022 pilgrimage.
They were airlifted at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu through chartered Atlas Jet and they are expected to arrive Jordan Saturday morning before proceeding to Israel.
Addressing the intending pilgrims before their departure, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi urged them to pray for the state and their families as well as the leaders of the country.
The governor said, “I implore you to pray for Nigerian leaders and all those in authority in our country whom God had anointed to manager our affairs.”
He also admonished them to pray for God’s intervention in the affairs of the nation, especially the ravaging insecurity, economic hardship, peaceful 2023 general election and a successful transition.
Ugwuanyi further advised them to pray for more love and tolerance among Nigerians for full restoration of peace and progress.
He noted that Christians in the state irrespective of their denomination had been sponsored to the Holy Land within the state’s limited resource.
“It is usually an opportunity for Christian to have introspection, deepen their faith, pray for their state and families.
“Today, 300 pilgrims will be airlifted to the Holy Land of Israel and Jordan, sponsored by the state.
“I urge the pilgrim managers to ensure zero absconding of the pilgrims,” he said.
The governor enjoined them to be responsible, honest and good ambassadors of the state.
Speaking also, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) Rev. Yakubu Pam thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for his wonderful dedication of faith to Enugu people.
Pam told Ugwuanyi that, “Many are going there for the first time and others with prayer requests through whom you have approved their journey.
He said Enugu State was the first to go for December 2022 pilgrimage through the effort of the peace loving governor.
The executive secretary also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the enabling environment and the permission to go on with the exercise.
He advised those with the intention of absconding to change their minds as security agents were there to catch up with them.
The Chairman, Enugu State Pilgrims Board, Rev. Emmanuel Edeh noted that, it was not the first time people were going on pilgrimage in the state.
“In July, 300 pilgrims were in Israel and Jordan and 30 in Rome, now 300 are gearing up,” he said.
He explained that among them were doctors, professors, teachers, tricycle riders and market women drawn from different Christian denominations in Enugu State.