Friday, November 13, 2015 10:47 am
By Kazeem Ugbodaga.
The Lagos State Government has concluded plans to commence the airlifting of the first batch of the proposed three batches of the 2015 intending Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem and Rome on Friday.
Dr. Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, made this known at the Orientation Seminar and Rededication Service for the intending pilgrims at the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, Ikeja in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Thursday.
The Commissioner also gave reasons for government’s involvement in pilgrimage exercises, saying that government’s role remained that of coordinating the activities of pilgrims, ensuring a hitch free exercise and that the rights of the pilgrims were not trampled upon during the pilgrimage.
He added that government’s participation did not connote sponsorship of the pilgrims but rather “government serves in a coordinating capacity in order to ensure the overall safety of the pilgrims which according to him, is one of the responsibility of government towards the citizenry.”
Abdul Lateef added that the government of Israel that plays the host to pilgrims across the world did not relate to pilgrims on individual bases but as a country’s contingent, hence the need for pilgrimages to be organised and coordinated by government.
Abdul Lateef used the occasion to allay fears of unrest in Israel, assuring that government would not embark on a journey to a place where the lives of its citizens would be endangered. The Commissioner said that the state government expected every religious organisation to be spiritually rejuvenated and act as development partners and agents of change with the state in ensuring the realization of its plans, programmes and policies for the citizenry.
In his exhortation to the intending pilgrims, Rt. Rev. Dr. A. Adetubo emphasized prayer as the fundamental reason for the pilgrimage. He solicited for maximum obedience and cooperation from the pilgrims with all the officials of government who are experienced officers on pilgrimage exercises.
The pilgrims were also educated on physical and spiritual preparation, positive attitude and health in the Holy Land.