The Executive Secretary, of Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam, has listed conditions intending pilgrims must fulfil before being allowed to travel to Israel, Rome and Jordan for the December pilgrimage.
Pam said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the commission targets 10,000 pilgrims across the country for the yearly pilgrimage.
“We have gone very far, we have created the package and a reasonable number of states have paid, and some private sponsors have paid.
“We have done screening and have gotten the satisfied recommended people from different states that we have done the screening.
“Very soon, we will start announcing the enlistment of the first batch of the pilgrims to depart for the December 2022 exercise,” the executive secretary said.
According to him, the intending pilgrims must however fulfil some conditions before being cleared for the journey.
“First and foremost, the pilgrim should know that it is forbidden for him or her to plan to abscond, it is against the constitution of Nigeria and our established immigration rules.
“Every pilgrim who is ready to go must have a surety and the surety must be a well-respected person, especially a clergyman, a senior citizen of Nigeria, a resident in the country and well respected.
“Thirdly, whoever is travelling must possess an international passport, which is necessary, and it should be updated.
“You must also be somebody with a good character embarking on the journey to go and pray, to go for dedication and not for business.
“We also forbid food, because some people take food to go and sell, which is not accepted, business is not allowed,” Pam said.
The executive secretary said that the measures had helped to reduce cases of pilgrims’ absconding in the Holyland.
Pam said only about six people had absconded since he took over the affairs of the commission in 2020.
” On My first visit to Jordan, we had zero absconding and the second about six people absconded,” he added.
The executive secretary said that the commission was working with states, religious groups including CAN, registered tour operators, churches, organizations and individuals to ensure the success of the pilgrimage.