Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has called on Christians to see pilgrimage to Holy Land as a spiritual exercise.
Governor Bello represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alh Ahmed Ibrahim Matane disclosed this while bidding farewell to 171 intending pilgrims to Israel at the Government House, Minna, yesterday.
He said that pilgrimage is a spiritual trip and not tourism.According to him, Christians in the state should show more commitment in their quest to making trips to the holy land through self sponsorship as it will fulfil the spiritual obligation, adding that government will ensure that the number of persons going to Israel is increased.
The governor added that his administration remains committed to making trips to the holy land stress-free.
He urged them to pray for an end to the security challenges that have bedevilled the state and as well as pray for the state’s development.
The governor congratulated them, urging them to be good ambassadors of the state and country and should not abscond.
Speaking earlier, the executive secretary, Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Umar Makun Lapai expressed gratitude to the governor for making the Jerusalem trip possible.
Makun Lapai assured the government that the 171 pilgrims will not abscond and that the pilgrims have been told to pray for the success of the state.
Also speaking, the leader of the delegation, Rev Sama’ila Yerima El-Yakim said that the Pilgrims will pray for peace and prosperity of the country.
Rev El-Yakim added that they would pray for the country to be a great nation where peace and progress shall reign.
He said that the 171 pilgrims were screened and have proven to be men and women of integrity.
He said that they held series of lectures for the Pilgrims and let them know the ills of absconding as they will become second citizens doing all sorts of menial jobs like sweeping the streets.
The leader of the delegation thanked the state governor for all his support.
The Director, Christian Pilgrims, Mrs Joanna D. Pada said that pilgrimage is a means of fulfilling spiritual life. She thanked the governor for making it possible for the Christians who will make the spiritual trip.
She added that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello is indeed a friend of the Christian community which is clearly demonstrated in the support he has been doing towards successful Christian Pilgrimage.