Cross River Governor Commends Hitch-Free Screening For Pilgrims To Jerusalem
Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade has commended the successful screening of intending pilgrims to this year’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem, describing the exercise as well organised
The screening was conducted on Thursday.
Governor Ayade who is sponsoring over one hundred Cross Riverians to the Holy Land urged the pilgrims to be worthy ambassadors of the state.
The exercise, according to the Chairman of the State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Rev. Ambassador O. B. Ekpenyong, was organised by the Cross River State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, to verify the intending pilgrims’ fitness for the pilgrimage as well authenticate their travel documents.
Ekpenyong said the screening was necessary as the journey was usually physically tasking, hence the need to be medically certified. He warned intending pilgrims not to indulge in acts capable of embarrassing the state and the federal governments while in the Holy lands.
“Cross River State Government will not take kindly to anyone using the opportunity of the holy pilgrimage to abscond. We will be interfacing with relevant authorities and agencies to monitor the activities of pilgrims,” Ekpenyong warned.
Addressing the pilgrims, Ekpenyong said: “His Excellency, the Digital Governor has promised to make adequate preparations for you to have an enduring and spiritually fulfilling experience during the holy exercise.”
Explaining why the screening was conducted in the state, immediate past Special Adviser to Governor Ayade on Religious Affairs, Reverend Father Bob Etta, who enjoined the participants to be of good conduct, said: “The screening was to have been held in Abuja but had to be conducted in the state as a way of saving costs. The State government has relieved the intending pilgrims difficulties and cost of going to Abuja by bringing together the team to do the screening here. We must commend Governor Ben Ayade for his foresight. ”
The screening committee which was drawn from Immigration, Department of State Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense as well as the Police also included a Federal Commissioner representing South NNPC, Barrister Forgiven Amakri, Mr Nicholas Kiva Head of Consular Services, Abuja, current and former Chairmen of the State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
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