19 December 2012

Nigeria: 300 Nigerian Pilgrims Stranded in Israel

The pilgrims, who were supposed to round up their ten-day trip to Jerusalem yesterday, checked out of their hotels very early only to be told on their arrival at the airport that there's no arrangement made for their return trip to Nigeria.

The pilgrims said when they contacted their travel agency, Tailormade Tours Limited, it explained that the problem was due to non remittance of funds to be used to make arrangements for their airlift by the Nigeria Christians Pilgrims Commission.

After staying at the airport for over seven hours, the management of the airport later asked the pilgrims to leave the airport.

One of the pilgrims, who spoke in anonymity, told our correspondent that they had to charter buses to take them round the town as they have no place to stay after checking out of their hotels.

Another pilgrim who gave his name as Chris Ogbolie, said the chairman of the Delta batch of the pilgrims, Bishop Goddowell Awomakpa and the Delta State Commissioner for Agriculture, Misan Ukubeyinje, who was also affected, later told them that the problem was not from the Delta State government but from the pilgrim's commission in Abuja.

He said the commissioner informed them that the state government made all necessary payments to the commission and was at a loss why remittances have not been made to ensure their airlift.

Ogbolie said the situation is quite sad as they have been left to be roaming the streets of Tel-Aviv aimlessly hoping that the matter would be resolved in the earliest time possible.

However, the pilgrims' commission has denied report that they have abandoned the pilgrims, noting that the flight was only delayed.

NCPC Director of Operation Henry Ejike said the delay was because the plane that supposed to convey them back had small issue and another one has been sent to transport them. He said the pilgrims would arrive in the country yesterday night by 8pm.

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