Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 24 October 2014 | 5,890 times
The first set of Christian pilgrims from Anambra State has departed Awka, the state capital, for the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in neighbourong Enugu State preparatory for departure for Israel.
Speaking Wednesday while declaring open a one-day workshop for 2014 pilgrims organised by Anambra State Christian Welfare Board (ASCWB), the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, announced that after the successful conclusion of screening of 850 intending pilgrims from the state, 184 persons were selected for the first batch to be airlifted to the holy land today.
Obiano, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, said the trip to the holy land would be made in batches in order to control movements and activities of the pilgrims. He urged the pilgrims to be of good character, reminding them that the essence of the trip is to have a special time with God in prayers as well as see the reality of Christ’s existence.
Dr. Okeke called on the pilgrims not to bring shame to the state by absconding or exhibiting offensive character that would reduce the image of the state.
He said: “We are the Light of the Nation; as such we must live and act right. The governor has made available all the financial and logistics support necessary for the success of the trip to the holy land and I urge you to reciprocate by behaving well.”
Earlier in his speech, the chairman of Anambra CWB, Dr. Levi Monanu, said that the board received financial support on time to assist with the lifting of the first set of pilgrims to the holy land. He said that Governor Obiano and his wife, Chief Ebelechukwu, would be on ground when the first batch would be airlifted, describing the group as lucky.
Monanu said the theme of the 2014 pilgrimage is ‘Pilgrimage, a Tool for Moral and Spiritual Transformation’. He urged the pilgrims to ensure that they get the best out of the trip by allowing the teachings of Christ to sink into their minds.
The Anambra CWB Chairman informed the pilgrims that Rev. Emmanuel Okoroafor of the Baptist Church and two other chaplains had been selected from the Anglica and Catholic denominations to guide and assist the pilgrims in the holy land.
Speaking at the workshop, an official of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Amenh Ihalegwu, advised the pilgrims to shun abuse of drugs and related offences and to ensure that they use only drugs prescribed by a medical expert. He warned that anyone found with hard drugs would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Also speaking, a medical expert, Dr. Innocent Okoye, advised any intending pilgrim who is on medication to ensure that he takes his drugs as directed and to make use of the medical personnel in the team in case of any sudden health issues.
Responding, one of the pilgrims, Mr. Chiadi Mbachi, promised to use the golden opportunity to enrich himself spiritually.
Another pilgrim, Mrs. Obiageli Obi, expressed gratitude to the State Government and promised not to disappoint the state.
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