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GOV. DICKSON TASKS NGOs, OTHERS ON SPONSORSHIP OF PILGRIMS

13 Sep

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13/09/2013
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has hinted the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims’ Commission of Government’s plan to gradually withdraw from the sponsorship of intending pilgrims to the holy land in view of competing developmental needs.

Governor Dickson dropped the hint when members of the commission led by its Executive Secretary, Mr. John-Kennedy Opara paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.

Urging philanthropists, non-governmental organizations and other groups to assist in the sponsorship of pilgrims to reduce the burden on government, the Governor said his administration would do its best to assist them in this year’s pilgrimage within available resources.

Governor Dickson, who explained that last year government sponsored about four hundred pilgrims, reaffirmed his administration’s position on holy pilgrimage, noting that the spiritual exercise should be an individual obligation.

According to him, government will encourage churches that are willing to sponsor their members by offering slots to them to enable the less privileged Christians perform their spiritual obligation.

In his words: “Overtime, government will pull out from the sponsorship of holy pilgrimage. We expect the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission to begin to sensitize its members of our decision”

“Government will reach out to philanthropists, NGOs and other groups to undertake the sponsorship of pilgrims. We are going to offer slots to all churches that desire to sponsor pilgrims on their own without government’s assistance. We will also ask churches which should in a given year, sponsor a number of people on the basis of need.”

On the invitation to join President Goodluck Jonathan to perform this year’s holy pilgrimage, Governor Dickson described the gesture as an honour and would look forward to the trip to pray for peace and success of the present administration at the state and national levels.

Earlier in his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr. John-Kennedy Opara, had said they were in the state to encourage Christians to participate in this year’s pilgrimage for moral and spiritual rejuvenation.

Commending Governor Dickson for his support to the church and his developmental strides, he noted that the commission has approved the allocation of one thousand and six pilgrims to Bayelsa state, adding that the commission has introduced an innovation known as ‘Family Pilgrimage’ to afford families the opportunity to embark on holy pilgrimage.

Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State

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