Lagos Christian Pilgrims To Embark on Pilgrimage to Jordan …it’s optional, LASG
The Lagos Government through the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB), due to Israel refusal to open it’s border for pilgrimage, has opted it’s forthcoming May/June holy pilgrimage to Jordan instead of Jerusalem.
According to a release by Adepeju Adeyemi, the Asst. Director, Public Affairs, The Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olarewaju Elegushi made this known during the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board Stakeholders/Sensitization Forum held for its intending Pilgrims at the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, Ikeja recently.
While stating that the pilgrimage is optional and not mandatory Elegushi said, the State Government offers the option of Pilgrimage to Jordan voluntarily in due collaboration with the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) who are the national coordinator of the Christians Pilgrimage in Nigeria. It was agreed to take intending Pilgrims to Jordan instead of Jerusalem due to Israel’s border closure for pilgrimage which may not be open for pilgrimage soon.
He went further stating that many intending pilgrims paid for pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but there was nothing the State Government could do in the circumstance than to offer an alternative destination which is Jordan.
He advised, “any intending pilgrim who had paid and not pleased with the new arrangement may request for refund or wait until the Israel border is opened for Pilgrimage.”
Buttressing his point, the honourable Commissioner said, officials of the Ministry visited Jordan as a routine for the State of Readiness to ascertain the level of preparedness of Jordan to host pilgrimage exercises. This report, the Commissioner noted with nostalgia, made the board to settle for Jordan.
“The Prophecy of our Lord Jesus cuts across many settlements and countries, not only Jerusalem. Going through the Bible we would find the role of other countries like Jordan, including Egypt. Christianity is not all about Jerusalem” Elegushi said.
The safety of pilgrims is of primary concern to the State Government and not just the performance of Pilgrimage, hence the choice of Jordan.
“We decided on an option but cannot just make decisions without consultation and your consent. You paid your money, we don’t put the horse before the cart, we want to know your mind and whatever you, the stakeholders decide is what we will present to the Governor.” The Commissioner said.
Elegushi explained that the ministry held on to the memo for the Governor on the decision to tour Jordan until after the Stakeholders meeting.
He used the forum to appreciate intending Pilgrims for entrusting their funds with the State Government.
In his contribution, the director of Operations, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Amos Yohanna informed the intending pilgrims that the only alternative Pilgrimage available in the country presently is the Pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Jordan and said, seeing that Israel may likely not open its borders for pilgrimage for now the commission decided on Jordan in accordance with the law that established NCPC that says “We are allowed to go to any part of the world where it is written in the Bible, where Jesus had worked. The same law allows us to go to Rome, Greece and Turkey etc”.
According to Rev. Yohanna, most of the Israelites lived and spend most of their lives across the Jordan which is now called the kingdom of Jordan. “It used to be a country without boundaries. The prophets were moving across River Jordan and receiving messages from God and even Jesus crossed River Jordan many times” he noted.
Yohanna mentioned some of the historical sites to be visited in Jordan includes Pella; ancient Penuel where Jacob, brother of Esau wrestled all night with God and his name was changed to Israel; Mount Nebo, where Moses looked across to the promised land and later died and was buried. Other sites to be visited are; Bethany beyond Jordan which is the traditional site of Jesus baptism; Dead Sea, the lowest place of the earth; the land of Uz, the city of salt where Job lived among others.
Giving the airlifting breakdown, he said, the flag off for the Jordan Pilgrimage is scheduled for May 29, 2021 in Jos while Lagos will commence airlifting in the 1st week of June 2021.
Whilst speaking, Yohanna said in accordance with the Federal Government’s Covid 19 protocols, it is mandatory for anyone travelling out of the country to undertake Covid 19 test and be certified negative.
To make the exercise less cumbersome for intending Pilgrims, NCPC is making arrangements with some renowned and trusted laboratories to undertake the Covid test for all intending Pilgrims at reasonable cost.
In her address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs Adebunmi Adekanye noted with delight that pilgrimage to Jordan is a worthwhile experience.
“Before now I heard people saying they actually travel to Jordan from the UK and I wonder why they go to Jordan, now that I have been there, seen and believed. I believe it is going to be the same experience for you, if not better.”
She further explained that some of them had to go to Jordan on the State of Readiness to be convinced about Jordan before calling for the meeting and having visited Jordan they are convinced that in future, intending Pilgrims would be going on holy Pilgrimage to both Jerusalem and Jordan while assuring of a spiritual rewarding Pilgrimage.
Meanwhile, in a separate account and comment, the Board Secretary, LSCPWB, Mrs. Florence Gbafe and a member of the Board, Hon. Babatunde Temionu respectively gave the reasons for the forum, was to deliberate and dialogue with intending Pilgrims on the way forward for the 2021 pilgrimage exercise and stated that no final decision could be taken without the Stakeholders forum input. They encouraged intending Pilgrims to be rest assured of a rewarding and fulfilling spiritual exercise, “testimonies abound after the visit to Jordan during the State of Readiness and it has been spiritually rewarding”, they stated.
During the interactive session, many intending Pilgrims, commended and thanked the State Government for the consultation forum and expressed how the forum has help clear the air on some grey areas while enthusiasm for their readiness and willingness to embark on the Pilgrimage to Jordan has increased.