No Abscondment of Pilgrims in 6 years; Director Says

By: Wisdom Acka

Federal Capital Territory Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board has not recorded a single case of abscondment of pilgrims in the last six years of its operations.

The Board was able to achieve the feat owing to its uncompromising stance on the implementation of laid down security protocols, especially during the selection and vetting process.

Director of the Board, John Dabara disclosed this in an interview with journalists in his office over the weekend.

Stating that pilgrimage was a holy and highly spiritual exercise, the Director added that his Board has also not recorded any unfortunate incident amongst her pilgrims within the period.

According to him, despite the peculiarities of FCT Pilgrims, contingents from the nation’s capital have been adjudged the best in the country by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission.

His words: “As it is now, we have gotten tools where we check them (intending pilgrims), we screen them based on the forms they submitted.

“We evaluate the information they give to us. Once we have convicted you on the form, we’ll keep it aside. Then we will call you to appear physically and this time around, we’ll handover the screening to the Police, Department of State Services (DSS), NCPC, Immigration Service”, he restated.

“The last screening we do is when we are on transit, even at the airport. There are some parameters we will see and know that this one is a potential abscondee”, he explained.

The Director added that, besides deploying security checks on intending pilgrims, the Board also seeks God’s guidance on selection process to ensure that only those that will represent Nigeria in good light finally make the list of pilgrims.

While stressing the significance of pilgrimage in the life of a Christian, he reiterated that the exercise was more spiritual than physical for a believer, affirming that the soul cleansing exercise was the best for one to connect with his or her creator.