Jonathan Urges Christian Pilgrims To Pray for Nigeria

As the federal government intensifies its campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency group, President Goodluck Jonathan has urged prospective Easter Christian pilgrims to pray for peace in the country and the total defeat of the terror group. The President who was represented by Willy Obiano the Anambra State governor, gave the advice at the launch of the 2015 Easter Pilgrimage to Israel, Greece and Rome on Sunday in Enugu. “As you go to the Holy Land, try and pray for peace in Nigeria and total defeat of the Boko Haram and victory for our military personnel,” he said. He also urged the intending pilgrims to work as a team, irrespective of their denominations so as to lift the spirit of the entire Nigeria. The president advised them to obey the rules guiding them while in the Holy Land so as not to bring shame to Nigeria. Ike Ekwerenmadu, the deputy senate president, in his address at the event, urged the intending pilgrims to pray for the nation, saying that the problem caused by the Boko Haram had brought hardship to every tribe and not just the people of the North East. John Kennedy, the Executive National Secretary, National Christian Pilgrims Commission, pleaded with the intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Nigeria while in the Holy Land. He said the Christian Pilgrims Commission was already collaborating with the National Lottery Commission for Christian Pilgrimage Lottery Scheme, saying it would afford every Christian the opportunity of obtaining a ticket that could take them to Israel or Rome. He added that the Commission had introduced some basic programmes to strengthen the Christian pilgrimage activities. “We are introducing basic leadership and skill acquisition programmes; we also introduced the youth pilgrimage and Christian Pilgrimage Lottery Scheme. “This innovation will be our trust in reaching more Christians who otherwise have remained untouched.’’ He commended Obiano for the large number of pilgrims he has sponsored, adding that it was a thing of joy that Anambra was the first to start the Easter Pilgrimage. In the same vein, Nicholas Okoh, chairman of NCPC, advised the intending pilgrims not to take laws into their hands, rather, they should work as a team. He asked them to remain focused so as not to distract each other, saying their visit to the Holy Land was not for shopping, rather, it was for spiritual exercise. Levi Muonanu, chairman, The Anambra Christian Pilgrim Board called on the Federal Government to increase sponsorship of more Christians in the state. Participants said they are delighted to be among those given the opportunity to embark on the 2015 pilgrimage.

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