FG urges pilgrims to shun vices

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, has urged intending Christian Pilgrims to Israel and Jordan to shun all vices capable of bringing disrepute to the image of the country while in the Holy Land.

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Mustapha, represented by Dr Maurice Mbaeri, Permanent Secretary, General Services, Office of the SGF, gave the advice in Abuja on Thursday during the dedication service for intending pilgrims to Israel and Jordan.

He counselled the pilgrims to pray for the sustenance of peace and unity in the country, portraying the image of Nigeria positively and resolve to be good ambassadors of the country.

He said: “Distinguished guests, permit me to reiterate that pilgrimage is a spiritual exercise.As you pray and meditate on your Christian journey, kindly remember to pray for our dear country Nigeria.

“For God to uphold our leaders and the governed so that Nigeria can take its rightful place in the committee of nations.

“You are expected to conduct yourselves in the best behaviour worthy of emulation.

“We expect all pilgrims back by the special grace of God, meaning that no one should abscond. You must be good ambassadors of Nigeria wherever you go, ” Mustapha said.

He also reminded the intending pilgrims of the need to adhere to all health instructions.

“Let me again remind you that COVID-19 is real and still causing havoc in some parts of the world.

“There are currently variances of concern that are very contagious and deadly.

“I urge every pilgrim to adhere to all the known pharmaceutical measures to protect themselves and their loved ones from this dreaded virus.

“On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, I officially flag off the 2022 Christian pilgrimage to the glory of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

“I wish you all intending pilgrims a very rewarding pilgrimage,” he said.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Rev Yakubu Pam, advised the pilgrims to embark on the pilgrimage with the intention of achieving spiritual rebirth by focusing on the spiritual aspect of the exercise.

“This is the first time Christians are embarking on pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan combined together.

“We have given this pilgrimage a theme, ‘Pilgrimage for Sustainable National Development’. Our country presently needs peace which is usually the antecedent of development.

“I will urge all pilgrims to pray for peace so that we can have development in Nigeria, ‘’ Pam said.
Similarly, the Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, His Grace Ignatius Kaigama, advised the pilgrims to desist from all acts that could make their journey to Israel and Jordan a wasted effort.

“When you are in the Holy Land or wherever you find yourselves, obey their laws. Don’t do anything that will bring shame to our country,” Kaigama said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that officers from Customs, Immigration, representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), House Committee on Pilgrimage, the FCT Minister of State and other religious bodies advised the pilgrims to display exemplary conduct. (NAN)

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