Abuja - Gov. Muhammad Abubakar of Bauchi
State has said that the government will not relent in the sponsorship of
pilgrims to the holy land in spite of its lean finances.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Celestine
Ogugua, the Head of Media, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), and
made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
Abubakar, according to the statement, said this in Bauchi
during a sensitisation visit by the Executive Secretary of NCPC, Mr.
John-Kennedy Opara, and his federal commissioners.
The governor said that the state would do everything
possible to ensure that the people of the state participate in this year's
"It is the responsibility of the state to continue to
render its social and religious obligations to both Christians and Muslims in
the state,’’ he said.
He thanked the Bauchi State Christian Association of Nigeria
(CAN) for standing by him during his election into office.
"Bauchi State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
has remained true to the promises they made to me during the elections and I
promise to carry them along in my government,’’ he said.
Also read: Kaduna Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board fixes July 15 deadline
Opara, in the statement, described the governor as a man of
courage, honour and integrity, who God had chosen to serve the people of Bauchi
He commended him for reducing the cost of governance in the
state since his assumption of office and urged other state governors to emulate
"The way you cut the cost of governance is quite
inspiring and that is the way to take the state to greater height of
achievements,’’ he said.
Opara intimated his host that the commission now runs four
pilgrimage programmes annually which include Easter pilgrimage, Youth
Pilgrimage which was launched this year, Family pilgrimage and the main
He informed Abubakar that skill acquisition was included
into pilgrims’ activities as a way of ensuring that the commission creates jobs
He further said that over 1,000 youths embarked on
pilgrimage this year and were exposed to skill acquisition in the area of
"We want to tap into the wealth of knowledge of Israel
in agriculture, so that when our youths return, they would be able to create
jobs for themselves and employ others.’’
He said that the commission is currently partnering with the
National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) to encourage those who are
spiritually rich, but materially poor undertake pilgrimage at little or no
"We want to ensure that every Christian buys the
lottery tickets; the money generated from the tickets would be used in
sponsoring those who are lucky to win the raffle draw at no cost to the federal
and state governments,'’ Opara said.