Three Christian pilgrims from Delta State have reportedly absconded during a visit to the holy land in Israel.
Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa while expressing shock over the embarrassing incident, called for proper and thorough screening process as a means to prevent future abscondment of pilgrims.
Governor Okowa promised to carry out an investigation into the incident on Tuesday, December 18, 2019 during the Swearing-In of Apostle Sylvannus Okorote as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Matters and the Inauguration of Bishop Cyril Odutemu as Chairman, Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board.
The governor explained that there was the need for a screening process that was thorough and devoid of sentiment in order to prevent any re-occurrence of pilgrims absconding the moment they arrive the holy land.
“The issue of people absconding in Jerusalem rather than going for the purpose for which they were sent there for is becoming very worrisome and a lot of work is to be done to check this trend; there have been information showing that 3 persons absconded in their pilgrimage trips.
“There will be an investigation to look into the sources where the recommendations for these individuals came from because such incidence is very embarrassing and that is unacceptable from our state.
“So the process of screening for pilgrimages must be one that is thorough; one that is devoid of sentiment and when we find those responsible for this mishap they will no longer be allowed to make recommendations now and in the future”.
Apostle Sylvannus Okorote thanked Governor Okowa for the appointment and assured that the religious bodies in the state would contribute meaningfully to the achievement of the agenda of a stronger Delta.
Meanwhile, Governor Okowa, has charged pilgrims to the Holy Land to distinguish themselves with high spirituality and attitudinal changes to justify the pilgrimage.
The governor gave the charge on Sunday in Jerusalem while presenting certificates and investiture of Jerusalem Pilgrim to the pilgrims.
Represented by the Commissioner, Bureau for Special Duties, Mr Omamofe Pirah, he pointed out that the pilgrims had the experience of visiting specially chosen religious sites in the Holy Land.
“We must take the message home that we were in Israel for spiritual purposes by our actions; we should show that we are changed people by our actions.
“Let what we have learnt here, what we have gained spiritually impact on our people positively in Nigeria.
“We must take home a system where rule of law works; our leaders must obey rule of law.
“There must be rule of law in our nation, because once there is rule of law, our nation will grow.
“I commend the orderly manner the Pilgrims have conducted themselves, the decorum is wonderful and I am happy that all of you have received something behind the physical.
“Always be at peace with Christ; forgive others, do the right things and others will emulate you,” Okowa said.