NCPC flags off 2015 Easter pilgrimage

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The Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), has flagged off the 2015 Easter pilgrimage to Israel, Rome and Greece with the airlifting of pilgrims from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented at the event by Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, advised the intending pilgrims from the state to pray for peace in Nigeria and total defeat of insurgency in the North East. “As you go to the Holy Land, pray for peace in Nigeria and total defeat of the Boko Haram in the North East”. The President also advised them to obey all rules in the Holy Land so as not to bring shame to Nigeria.
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, also urged the intending pilgrims to pray for the nation, saying that the problem caused by Boko Haram had brought hardship to every tribe and not just the people of the North East. Executive Secretary of NCPC, Mr. John Kennedy Opara urged the intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Nigeria while in the Holy Land. He added that the Commission was collaborating with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), for the promotion of Christian Pilgrimage Lottery Scheme, which would afford every Christian the opportunity of obtaining a ticket to Israel through raffle draws.
Opera added that the Commission would introduce some innovations in this year’s pilgrimage to strengthen its activities. According to him, “we are introducing basic leadership and skill acquisition programmes, the youth pilgrimage as well as Christian Pilgrimage Lottery Scheme. “These innovation will be our thrust in reaching more Christians who otherwise have remained untouched”. He commended Obiano for his consistency in sponsoring a large number of pilgrims to Israel, adding that it was a thing of joy that Anambra pilgrims were the first to commence the basic leadership and skill acquisition programme in Israel. Earlier, Chairman of NCPC, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh advised the pilgrims not to take laws into their hands while in the Holy Land, rather, they should move as a team.
The theme for this year’s pilgrimage is Pilgrimage a tool for Moral Transformation and Spiritual Rebirth: moving to stability. About 200 pilgrims from Anambra State were airlifted to Israel as the first batch on Sunday, March 1, 2015. Last year, the Commission also flagged off the Easter pilgrimage exercise to Israel with the airlifting of Anambra State pilgrims and that was also the first time the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu was used by NCPC for its operations.

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