Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Pilgrims Secured From Crisis Zone - NCPC Boss

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Mr. John Kennedy Opara, has said pilgrims from Nigeria have been prevented from visiting sites located in crisis areas within Israel and Palestine before the ceasefire.

He said it was necessary to make the decision to ensure the safety of all on the spiritual exercise.

"We were in touch with the Nigerian Embassies in Egypt and Tel Aviv and asked that movement of pilgrims to holy sites within these territories be suspended. Such areas include Mt. Sinai; we canceled all movements to the Palestinian areas too.

"Thankfully no one has been harmed and the embassies are working round the clock to ensure pilgrims' safety," he added.

The commission's boss said it has been working with the Israeli security to monitor events as they unfold. He said he was happy the ceasefire was in place and negotiations ongoing.

To ensure that the spiritual journey is complete, pilgrims are being taken to other holy sites which are usually not a part of the regular pilgrimage routine but will also allow them pray and spend the eleven days and ten nights approved by the president.

The first set of pilgrims on a combined flight from Abuja/Lagos to Rome and Greece numbering 326, will leave on November, 26th.

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