Rev. Tor Uja, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), said the commission planned to reduce the fare for pilgrimage to Israel, citing low economic situation in the country as reason.
Uja made this known at the Conference of Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.
The focus of the conference was “Pilgrimage, the Church and Nigeria”.
He said that the commission was trying to ensure that cost of pilgrimage was reduced to enable Christians who would like to embark on exercise to do without much difficulty.
“One of the reasons why we have to reduce the cost of pilgrimage is because our economy is not smiling at all.
“We do not want a burden either on individuals or the government; we want it to be cheaper for anybody who wants to embark on pilgrimage to do so without struggle.
“We will announce it to the public; we believe that it can be made cheaper.
“We have a committee that is working on that and we intend that any unnecessary weight that can be cut down should be cut down,” he said.
Uja said that the commission had invited air carriers and ground handlers to meet and decide how the fare and other reductions could be made.
“We have invited our air carriers and ground handlers for a meeting so that we can dialogue and see if we can make the flights fare cheaper.
“We are going to meet with them to see if managing of pilgrims in Israel can be made cheaper too by reducing the cost of accommodation, feeding and other local elements.
“When all that is done, definitely, the cost of travelling to Israel will come down,’’ he stated.
He called on the churches to take the ownership of pilgrimage in Nigeria by preaching the gospel so as to ensure reconciliation among people and nations.
“Our mandate includes the spiritual purpose of preaching the gospel, the social purpose of ensuring reconciliation among people and nations and the mandate of provoking developments among people.
“It is time for the church to rise up in defence of this nation, to project good values.
“Pilgrimage will not only make people spiritual but it will also help the leaders in the building process of making Nigeria a greater nation in the world,’’ the NCPC boss said.
He urged states’ governors to see pilgrimage as a basic constituency that they had, and should support Christians in their states to be part of the exercise.