By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA — THE Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Tor Uja, yesterday, said the Federal Government had concluded plans to sponsor 1,000 youths on special pilgrimage to Israel in July.
According to Uja, the youth pilgrimage will combine prayers, site-seeing, skills acquisition, interaction with Israeli youths, and exposure to Israeli agricultural technology.
The executive secretary disclosed this at a press briefing jointly hosted by NCPC and the Ghanaian Minister of Religious Affairs and Chieftaincy Matters, Kofi Dzamesi, in Abuja.
He stated that the special pilgrimage is geared towards positioning Nigerian youths to take responsibility and ownership of the African continent through agriculture and technology.
Uja said: “We need to give more attention to the youths. We need to invest in the youths and inculcate in them a sense of understanding of what Africa stands for. We want our youths to take responsibility for Africa’s future and take ownership of the continent.
“Nigeria has concluded plans for a programme of youth development through a special youth pilgrimage in July. We intend to take at least 1,000 youths on an exposure pilgrimage to the Holy land. It is not only for prayers and site-seeing but also involves interaction with other Israeli youths and also exposure to Israeli agriculture and technology.”
The NCPC boss further said that Nigeria’s partnership with Ghana on pilgrimage matters and the upward lifting of the African continent would be long-lasting; adding that the commission would also visit Ghana to build the capacity of the country’s officials on pilgrimage.
“They (Ghanaian delegation) have requested us to maintain partnership with them so that in the years ahead they will be coming and we will also be going to teach, train, guide and help them,” he said.
On his part, the Ghanaian Minister, Dzamesi, expressed appreciation to NCPC for obliging his country’s request to understudy Nigeria’s pilgrimage system.
He also expressed hope that the efforts made between the two countries using pilgrimage for spiritual awareness, understanding, and national development would strengthen African unity.
“Nigeria is the only country in the African continent that is running a near Christian pilgrimage and maybe if there is a next, it will be Ghana,
“You have been opened to us and disclosed to us more than we expected. You have demonstrated the willingness and desire to partner with us and give us the guidance to succeed in our common enterprise of using pilgrimage for spiritual awareness, understanding and national development.
“In the spirit of our relationship, it is my hope and ambition that this effort will strengthen African unity and development,” Dzamesi said.