The Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission has reviewed and reduced the cost of 2019 pilgrimage fare to the State of Israel by N35,000 from N750,000 to N715,000.
The Chairman of the Commission, Rev. Yomi Kasali, revealed this on Friday at the signing of the agreement of the 2019 pilgrimage contract between the commission and the service providers that would participate in the Christian pilgrimage exercise to the Holy Land.
Kasali explained that the cost of pilgrimage was reduced due to pleas from stakeholders, adding that the country was faced with tough times and so not everyone could afford the initial fee.
He said: “I want to inform the general public that this year’s 2019 pilgrimage cost has been reduced to N715,000.
“The fees were reduced because we looked at the plea of the states during the conference of states meeting. We have a responsive leadership, our management and the board sat and reviewed it downward.
“We thought we should consider tough times are here and Nigerians want to go, if there was anything that we could do to make it lower, we would have done it.
“So, we thought that was good, we were just responding as a board to the plea of our stakeholders and they are the conference of states so that it can be more affordable.”
Kasali called on the air carriers and the ground handlers to do what is expected from them and urged Christians to sign up for the 2019 pilgrimage.
The Acting Executive Secretary, Esther Kwaghe, expressed delight on the terms and conditions that would govern this year’s pilgrimage, adding that the legal unit of this commission had finalised everything.
Kwaghe, however, called on the service providers to ensure effective service delivery, to protect pilgrims and most of all to project the Christian faith and integrity of Nigerians.
She thanked Buhari for the opportunity given to her to serve in this period of the commission’s transition.
She said: “I am happy on the terms and condition that will govern this year’s pilgrimage. We are therefore, here to sign this contract in line with due process of book keeping requirements.
“The legal unit of this commission has finalised and also made copies of the agreement with air carriers and ground handlers.
“Let me add this to our business partners that the commission wants value for money, wants protection of its pilgrims. The commission wants projection of the Christian faith and the integrity of Nigerians.
“I urge you ground handlers and air carriers to be faithful in keeping to the terms of the contract, I assure you that we will also keep to our own terms and do our best with all diligence to meet up to the obligations.”
In her remarks, Josephine Zinder, President, Tailor Made Tours, a ground handling company in Israel, said she was optimistic of a successful pilgrimage.
Zinder assured the commission that they would make it right in progress and unity, adding that pilgrims would get excellence, and Nigerians were the most loyal believers to Israel.
She said: “We are all committed to do the best of the best. What we saw today was a full collaboration of NCPC with a opened heart and mind and we also celebrate this day.”
Serkan Yazicioglu, Executive Director, Atlas Jet, an air carrier company, said that the pilgrims should expect transformation during the exercise and assured that the company would give its maximum cooperation to see that pilgrims arrive safely.