2016 Christian pilgrimage records zero death – NCPC boss
Rev. Tor Uja, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), has said that the 2016 Christian Pilgrimage to Israel, Rome and Greece recorded no death, harassment and no police arrest.
Uja made this known when he inaugurated the security sub-committee for the 2017 pilgrimage to Israel, Rome and Greece, in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that the commission had well-organised and structured security committee that helped in addressing the issues of security while on pilgrimage.
He said that Nigeria’s major challenge during pilgrimages was inadequate security and ineffective mechanism for screening, which had made it difficult to dictate people of questionable character.
He described absconding of pilgrims in the Holy land as major challenge, adding that the commission would come up with stringent measures that would discourage absconders.
“The purpose of the security committee is to intensify the commission’s screening mechanism to bring absconders to zero per cent.
“We believe that this committee will give us the best because it is a high-powered committee with senior personnel.
“Anybody found aiding a pilgrim to abscond is also going to face sanctions from NCPC by paying fines, publication of their names on newspapers and prosecution in the court,’’ Uja said.
Earlier, retired Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Nienge, Chairman, Security sub-Committee, said that the committee would make sure that pilgrims were safe during the 2017 pilgrimage to the Holy land.
“We are supposed to take the pilgrims to the Holy land safely and bring them back safely.
“The experience from 2016 will definitely help us to make sure that absconders and any other security problems will be handled properly than what we did last year.
“We will do our best to make sure that we achieve zero absconders with God on our side.
“We have made some observations from the subsequent exercises; we will have a better and much improved exercise that we can drive amicably,’’ Nienge said.
He thanked the executive secretary for the opportunity given to the members of the committee to serve.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee was inaugurated on Nov. 1, 2016 with the mandate to coordinate all the security operations for a hitch-free Christian pilgrimage.