Pilgrims from Enugu State will not visit Mount Sinai during this year's pilgrimage to Israel, the Chairman of the state's Pilgrims Welfare Board, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, has said.
Chukwuma, who is also the Anglican Bishop of Enugu, told newsmen in Enugu on Thursday while departing Enugu for Israel for the spiritual exercise, that the decision was to avoid security threats in the area.
He said the board would not tolerate any act of indiscipline, immorality or any social enterprise during the exercise.
ChukwuZa also said that a total of 306 pilgrims would be transported from the state, saying that pregnant women were exempted.
"We are departing today from here to Port Harcourt because Enugu airport is not ready because of certain logistics.
"We are going to avoid sensitive areas where they have security threats like Mount Sinai, we are not going there.
"We are going to be very vigilant and make sure that nobody absconds. When we get to Port Harcourt, we are still going to have some tests. Those who are found to be pregnant and those not fit will be dropped," the chairman said.
Addressing the pilgrims, the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr Sunday Onyebuchi, called on the pilgrims to exhibit exemplary behaviour and act as role models throughout their stay in Israel for the interest of the state.
Onyebuchi, represented by the Acting Head of Service, Mr Chidi Ezema, said that trading would not be accommodated as the exercise was a spiritual one.
"As ambassadors of this state, we hope that you continue to show exemplary ways of comporting yourselves. We do not want to hear stories of absconding from Israel or refusing to come back.
"You need to be organised and focused because you are role models and everybody is looking up to you.
"We also expect that nobody should engage him or herself in trading because you are going there for the purposes of spiritual upliftment," the deputy governor said.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), some of the pilgrims expressed optimism that the exercise would positively influence their lives.
The Chairperson of the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in the state, Mrs Chieso Aninwagwa, said the trip would build her faith and take her closer to God.
Aninwagwa called on other pilgrims to pray for the state and the country at large.
Another pilgrim from the civil service, Mr Osita Iloh, expressed concern with the recent security challenges in the Middle East, saying there was the need for measures to avert any security threats.