Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has urged Churches and wealthy individuals to sponsor the spiritually inclined Christians who cannot afford pilgrimage to the Holy land.
Gov. Lalong made the call on Tuesday in Abuja, when he paid a courtesy visit to Rev. Tor Uja, Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC).
He said because of the current economic crunch in the country, there was the need for Church leaders to take up the responsibility of convincing well-to-do members to sponsor other less privileged ones on pilgrimage.
According to him: “Our Churches need to take the gauntlet and convince the rich in our Churches to spend some of their money to sponsor other spiritually inclined members on the pilgrimage.
“If we begin to encourage this, it will have positive impact on our society.
“Christians in Nigeria are in disarray, because of denominational problems. Church leaders should look into this issue and encourage members to follow in the footsteps of Christ as the Bible teaches.
“Let us not forget that when there is tolerance, there is peace. When most Christians visit the Holy land, they will have a better understanding of living as one in the body of Christ.”
According to the governor, most people depend on government to sponsor them for pilgrimage, even those who can afford it.
“We need to look for other ways to sponsor pilgrims to enrich our spirituality.’
He advised Christians who could afford the trip to take advantage of the opportunities the spiritual exercise offered as it was both spiritually and morally rewarding.
Lalong said pilgrimage was important for the people of Plateau now more than ever because the state needed moral and spiritual transformation to achieve peace and development.
“It is necessary for the people of Plateau State to go and pray for lasting peace and progress of the state.
“That is why we are sponsoring 1, 700 pilgrims to enable them pray for peaceful elections and learn to live in peace and harmony with one another,” he stressed.
Lalong commended Uja on the various innovations he introduced to Christian pilgrimage in the country.
Speaking earlier, Uja stressed that discussions on the 2019 elections should be issues based and devoid of foul or abusive language.
He advised politicians to campaign with integrity and show respect for other candidates.
He said: Nobody should intimidate anybody or the voting community, politicians should know that no election ends election, as every election is a preparation for another election.
“Therefore nobody should kill to realise their ambition in 2019, all those who mean well for Nigeria should pray for peaceful 2019 elections.’’
The Executive Secretary noted that the commission would organise prayers in Jerusalem and Nigeria later this month for the 2019 General Elections.
According to him, the commission is working to ensure a more effective Christian Pilgrimage that goes beyond visiting sites and shopping.
He said the commission would strive towards building Nigerians spiritually so that they could imbibe leadership principles and promote productive development.
While noting that the NCPC was targeting zero cases of pilgrims who might abscond during the 2019 pilgrimage, he, however, disclosed that the commission recorded four cases in 2018.
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