The Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB) has held the second phase of its statutory administrative and medical screening programme for intending pilgrims to the Kingdom of Jordan.
Addressing the intending pilgrims at the Chapel of Christ, Alausa, Ikeja, on Monday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs. Adebunmi Elizabeth Adekanye stated that the screening exercise was initiated to verify the travel documents of the prospective pilgrims.
Mrs. Adeaknye said the orientation and screening exercise was also geared towards ensuring that prospective pilgrims are physically, psychologically equipped, and fit for the pilgrimage exercise scheduled to hold later this month.
Noting that the present set of intending pilgrims ought to have been airlifted in Y2020, the Permanent Secretary said the disruption was caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that due to the closure of Israel’s border, the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) in conjunction with the LSCPWB opted for Jordan for this year’s pilgrimage exercise, reiterating that pilgrims were not compelled to embark on the trip to Jordan but it was optional.
While seeking the cooperation and understanding of pilgrims, Mrs. Adekanye pointed out that participants requiring further medical attention after screening would be advised, maintaining that COVID-19 guidelines will be observed during the airlift of pilgrims in batches.
Also speaking on the occasion, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Christian Matters, Ven. Rev. Bukola Adeleke, stated that the purpose of the exercise was to educate the intending pilgrims on the holy pilgrimage to Jordan. Adeleke enjoined the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Lagos State as well as Nigeria and use the opportunity to pray for the Nation while urging them to observe all the COVID-19 protocols.
Addressing participants, the Board Secretary of Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB), Mrs. Florence Yetunde Gbafe, affirmed that the exercise was convened to acquaint the intending pilgrims with the guidelines of the holy pilgrimage and expressed optimism that the exercise will soon begin after the long delay caused by the pandemic.
She pointed out that plans are already in place to ensure a seamless journey, just as she mentioned that all intending pilgrims will be subjected to COVID tests before the trip to Jordan.
Mrs Gbafe further explained that since the pilgrims would be travelling to another country, there is the need to orientate them about the values, customs, and behavioural expectations of the people of Jordan.
She listed some of the historical places that will be visited as River Jordan, Mount Nebo, and the Dead Sea among others. Earlier, one of the Board members of LSCPWB, Mr. Babatunde Temionu, urged the intending pilgrims to focus on things that are spiritually uplifting and use the opportunity to pray for the peace of the State and country.
The intending pilgrims expressed appreciation to the Lagos State Government for providing the platform to educate and prepare them for the holy pilgrimage, adding that the screening exercise gave them the assurance of their airlifting for the pilgrimage exercise.