THE Delta State government is to collaborate with the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) to airlift pilgrims from the Asaba International Airport to the holy lands overseas.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State said his administration would work with the NCPC to ensure that there were no hitches in the airlifting of the pilgrims, stating that neigbouring states should also, be allowed to make use of the airport to travel on pilgrimages.
Speaking at Warri when a team of the NCPC led by its Executive Secretary, Revd. John Kennedy Opara, paid him a courtesy visit, the Governor observed that the use of the Asaba International Airport to airlift pilgrims is a welcome development.
He said that it is on record that pilgrims from Delta State to the different holy lands do not abscond but use such trips for spiritual and moral reasons
He disclosed that his administration has also mapped out programmes to ensure that pilgrims from the state do not only embark on the trips for spiritual and moral reasons, but also find time to study the agriculture programme of the places like Israel during pilgrimage.
“We have introduced a system where Deltans are allowed to study the nature of agriculture of the people of Israel while on pilgrimage, so, it is not only for spiritual benefit”, he stated noting that Nigeria has more fertile land than Israel but the agriculture sector of that country was thriving more.
He used the occasion to challenge the NCPC to have a laid-down procedure for intending pilgrims who wished to sponsor themselves to do so with ease, assuring that the state government would meet up with its quota of sending 1, 500 pilgrims to the holy land this year.
“For us in Delta State, we take the issue of pilgrimage very serious and we commend your efforts in encouraging Nigerians to go on pilgrimage because, there is a lot of benefits in going on pilgrimage,” Dr Uduaghan.
Earlier, Revd. Opara who accompanied by Commissioners in the NCPC, lauded Governor Uduaghan for the massive development being witnessed in Delta State, observing that Governor Uduaghan has a great vision for the state adding, “I believe that you coming to Delta State as a Governor is divine.”
He disclosed that 1, 500 slots have been allocated to Delta State for the next pilgrimage, stating that plans were on for the pilgrims to be airlifted from the Asaba International Airport.
Revd. Opara stated that it was important for Nigerians to go on pilgrimage because of the spiritual and moral benefits of having such trips, adding that families were now encouraged to go on pilgrimage together because a lot of benefits are derivable when families pray together.