Be good ambassadors, Bello tells pilgrims
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Bello, has charged the 2017 FCT Christian pilgrims to shun any act that will draw negative attention to the country or make life more difficult for other Nigerians.
The minister, who gave this charge in Abuja, advised them to be good ambassadors of the country and to also abide by all the rules and regulations that have been put in place to ensure a successful exercise.
He expressed his close connection with the pilgrims reflecting that nearly 10 years of his public service years were spent as a pilgrims' officer.
Bello, who lamented the absconding of 8 out of 300 members of the 2016 contingent, said such act have the potential to worsen the experiences of the country’s pilgrims as stiffer procedures could be introduced to limit their freedom while in the Holy Land.
The minister said, “Each time a pilgrim goes and refuses to come back either by deciding to abscond or to stay there, as long as it is done illegally, it robs on us as a nation and as a people because it makes the process difficult for those that are coming subsequently.”
The Minister equally harped on the necessity for patience among the pilgrims, saying, “you have to be very patient with your roommates, very patient with the arrangements, very patient with the officials and also very patient with those that you meet. As a matter of fact, in many of the places, you must have to be very patient with the food you eat. It is not that the food is not good; but for some of us that are used to Nigerian dishes, it might become a huge challenge. But it is all a matter of a few days and you will be back home".
Earlier in his address, the director, FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Dabara Zingo, disclosed that about 150 pilgrims were present for departure and represent the first of the three batches of FCT pilgrims bound for Israel, adding that the exercise will continue till December 25, 2017.