Say Nigerian Christians having 2019 Christmas without pilgrimage
By Luminous Jannamike
Worried by the leadership vacuum at the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims’ Commission, NCPC, the Catholic Action Nigeria, CAN, and the Catholic Media Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria, CAMPAN, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a substantive Executive Secretary for the Commission as a matter of urgency.
The Catholic pressure groups made their demand known in a joint press statement signed by Peter Agbontean, the Chairman of CAN’s Board of Trustees, and Patrick Osu, CAMPAN’s National President, in Abuja on Sunday.
They said the statutory functions of the NCPC to organise, coordinate and facilitate the airlifting of intending Christian pilgrims to Holy Sites across the world have been undermined due to the absence of a substantive Executive Secretary to steer the affairs of the Commission following Rev. Tor Uja’s sack by the government in August.
According to them, the failure to appoint a new scribe for the NCPC after Uja’s exit has hindered the Commission’s activities to the extent that pilgrimage for Christians intending to embark on the spiritual exercise during the yuletide season was poorly organised.
“Our concern, therefore, is predicated on the following reason: Nigerian Christians are having Christmas without pilgrimage for them. Pilgrimage is a journey of faith for every Christian and a spiritual obligation.
“As stakeholders in Christian affairs in Nigeria, we are calling on the Federal Government under President Buhari to take Christian pilgrimage seriously as visits to sacred sites will reform the population and make governance easier because pilgrims always return better people.
“Pilgrimage should be a collective aspiration for both the people and the government. We are therefore calling on Mr President, as a matter of urgency, to appoint a substantive Executive Secretary for the Commission to enable it to perform its statutory functions,” the statement read in part.
CAN and CAMPAN also called on all Nigerian Christians, home and abroad, to remain peaceful and use the yuletide season to pray for the unity of our country.
“Let us build on what unites us rather than what divides us. Let us mend our ways, encourage each other and live harmoniously. If we make peace our watchword, the God of peace will be with us and remain with us all,” they stressed.