By CHRIS EKEKE
The executive secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev Tor Uja has called on the federal government to include and sponsor heads of ministries, departments and agencies for the pilgrimage as this would help to tame corrupt tendencies in any individual.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja during the orientation ceremony for intending pilgrims before their departure yesterday to Jerusalem, Israel, the NCPC boss said spiritual rebirth is the only panacea to ensuring that corruption becomes a thing of the past in the country.
He said, “I still want the federal government to fund some certain areas of pilgrimage. I want the federal government to fund some ministers, chief executives of MDAs, permanent secretaries and those in some leadership positions. Fund them to participate in Christian pilgrimage once every year because many of the people who are found in grave corrupt practices are a manifestation that they’ve lost track of their spiritual bearing and anybody in office could lose track.
“To be able to nurse the spirit of those who are in office, they should be funded to go on pilgrimage even if it’s once a year or once in two years, it will help them to refocus their pilgrimage.
“I feel a sadness when I hear that people who were entrusted with responsibility, did not only take billions of dollars, it shows their spirit were dead because if such monies were put in a bank or in a community or used to empower young or old people or used to fund agriculture or education, a lot would have happened in this country.
But they took raw cash in dollars and they kept it in useless places. I think it’s a loss of spiritual bearing and a spiritual orientation of Christian pilgrimage will force people to have a breather.”
The NCPC boss advised the federal government on the need to keep reminding people in office, including legislators that they are human beings and for them to keep oiling and refueling their spirits because if it does not handle the issue of corruption spiritually, the pursuit and arrest alone will not solve the problem.
“I support the pursuit and recovery of funds but am looking for something more long lasting; oiling the spirit of people who are in office and I believe sending them on pilgrimage where they can pray, study the scriptures, do meditations and rediscover their origins and their duty to their nation will help better to organize people who are
supposed to provide us with serious service.”
Speaking on the departing pilgrims, Uja said the present pilgrimage is a completion pilgrimage as it is for those who were supposed to have gone last year October to December but for various issues like visa and other matters, they couldn’t make it.
“So it’s a 2016 completion pilgrimage and it involves about 1,000 people and it will be done twice. This is the first flight that will be moving today and the second flight will be moving on March 2nd and the last flight in Port Harcourt will be on the 12th of March.
“This pilgrimage involves about nine states and even then, it’s not everybody who couldn’t go then that is going now. We still have about 1,500 who will not be able to go now still because if we are to continue, we’ll run into the Easter pilgrimage that must also hold.
So, all those who can’t go now, will run into the Easter pilgrimage.”
He said some of the Christian pilgrimages are government funded, some are privately funded while several are funded by groups and individuals.
“As you know very well, we appreciate the roles of the states and the federal government. But we want to move the Christian pilgrimage programme into the churches, into the communities so that Nigerian Christians take more responsibility for the Christian pilgrimage. I believe that is evolving and we will achieve greater success as the
days go by.”