By: Darlington Omotoso
FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, has tasked Christian intending pilgrims from FCT to be good ambassadors of the Nigeria, if cleared to participate in the 2023 Pilgrimage to Rome and Greece.
The Minister of State gave this charge during the screening exercise of the “would be”pilgrims from the six Area Councils of the Territory, at the FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Auditorium in Wuse I District, Abuja.
Mahmoud, who was represented at the occasion by her Special Assistant on Social Development, Mrs. Helen Zamani, cautioned the intending pilgrims not to abscond while performing the pilgrimage.
Her words: “It is a wonderful privilege to go on a pilgrimage for spiritual renewal, it is also a journey of discovery for the individual pilgrim to validate their belief in God as the accounts in the Holy Bible suddenly comes alive before their very eyes. I, therefore, urge you all to be fully prepared, show utmost dedication and adhere strictly to guidelines and travel protocols on pilgrimage, as set by the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, (NCPC).
Welcoming guest to the event, the Ag. Director of the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mrs. Rahila Isa- Baita, thanked the Minister and Minister of State for the FCT for their unflinching support to ensure that all activities of the Board, and most specifically, the screening exercise is done seamlessly and thoroughly.
Explaining the rationale for the pilgrimage destination of Rome and Greece, the Ag, Director said : “As we all know, we will not be visiting Israel this time around, due to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, which has lingered for more than 100 days now, making pilgrimage activities in Israel impossible to carry out.
Thus, to ensure the continuity of our pilgrimage experience, and in what is clearly divine will, the leadership of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, and the Council of States, inspired by God, explored the alternative of Rome and Greece, and has made adequate arrangements for a seamless and very memorable pilgrimage for intending pilgrims, she said.
“Gone are the days that we will be visiting only Israel for pilgrimage. This particular pilgrimage has expanded our horizon beyond Jerusalem, Judea and Jericho for a spiritually satisfying pilgrimage to the cradle of our Christian faith, in holy sites and lands in Europe and beyond. The exploration of cites is still ongoing”, she added.
The Director reminded intending pilgrims that apart from ascertaining eligibility to participate, the screening exercise helps the FCT CPWB tailor the experience to the peculiar needs and capabilities of pilgrims.
“Besides, it is also an opportunity to understand pilgrims’ expectations, address any concerns, and ensure everyone is physically and spiritually prepared for the unique trip,” Isa- Baita restated.
Abuja Digest reports that every pilgrim underwent medical screening to ascertain their medical fitness, in addition to screening of travel and other essential documents.