Premium Times (Abuja)

Nigeria: President Jonathan to Lead 30,000 Nigerian Christian Pilgrims to Israel

President Goodluck Jonathan will lead 30,000 Nigerian Christians on this year's pilgrimage to Israel, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

It is not clear when Mr. Jonathan would depart the country for the spiritual exercise, but the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) says pilgrims would begin leaving for the holy sites this October .

While in Israel, the President will lead Nigerian officials to sign air services agreement wit that Middle East country.

John-Kennedy Opara, NCPC's Executive Secretary, had earlier assured intending pilgrims of their safety despite heightened tension in the Middle East.

A team from the commission had visited Israel, Greece and Rome, from Sept. 14 ahead of the flag-off of the exercise this October.

About 230 Christian pilgrims would embark on the journey from Nasarawa state, with 200 of them sponsored by the state government while 30 of them are sponsoring themselves.

The NCPC says 1500 pilgrims will make the journey from the Federal Capital Territory.

It is not clear whether that includes those who will accompany President Jonathan on the journey.

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