Christiana Gokyo, Jos
JOS – About 1,700 intending pilgrims in Plateau state have received sponsorship by the state government for 2018 airlift.
Plateau state governor, Barr Simon Bako Lalong, assured to provide enabling environment for believers to practice their religion without hindrance.
Governor Lalong stated this at the farewell service for the 2018 intending Christian pilgrims to Israel, at COCIN Headquarters Church, Jos.
He congratulated all the intending pilgrims for scaling the rigorous screening exercise and having been found worthy to be offered the opportunity to participate in this year’s pilgrimage.
Lalong stated that “Plateau state pilgrims have been known for exhibiting good conduct in the past, while in the Holy Land. Having set such an enviable record, I expect nothing less this time around.”
He further urged the pilgrims to go and set exemplary conduct and consider themselves as good ambassadors of Plateau state and Nigeria.
He stressed that, they should consider themselves – being sponsored by government – as a token of government’s appreciation of their contributions to the success of the rescue administration; and reminded them that there is the need for them to reciprocate same in prayers.
The governor asserted the need for individuals, philanthropist and cooperate organizations, among others, to come and partner with government, “in order to sustain this exercise.”
Chairman of the state Pilgrims Welfare Board, Rev Fr. John Gorah, attributed all the success attained by the Board to Governor Lalong and revealed that a total number of 1,700 pilgrims are sponsored by the governor with each costing the government N850,000:00.
Rev Fr. Gorah cautioned the pilgrims to show high sense of responsibility, while at the Holy Land, and commended the governor for giving tremendous support to the 2018 pilgrims.
Speaking earlier, leader of the 2018 Pilgrim Delegation, Rev. Soja Bewaran, described pilgrimage as “a time to spend time with the Lord. It’s also a time to learn to live like Jesus Christ,” and commended Governor Lalong for sponsoring the highest number of pilgrims in the country.
He also appealed to the pilgrims not to abuse the generosity of the governor but should be good ambassadors of the state.
Goodwill messages came from John Akumeh, who is executive secretary Christian Pilgrims Board, Abuja, and Rev Fr Emmanuel Ray, while Ambassador Danladi Wuyep gave the vote-of-thanks.