The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Rev. Tor Uja has appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Geoffrey Onyema to assist the Commission activate the Bilateral Air Service Agreement, BASA, signed in 2013 between Nigeria and the State of Israel.
Uja who made appeal during a courtesy visit on the Minister in his office, recently, said that because of non activation of BASA, pilgrims have to fly for long hours due to absence of a direct flight from Nigeria to Israel. “We will like that you assist us to put this agreement,” he pleaded
The NCPC boss appreciated the Minister and the entire staff members of the ministry for their support to Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria, maintaining that NCPC has been in a partnership with the ministry for a long time without conflict.
Uja also commended the good work the embassies that are critical to the pilgrimage process have been doing.
He also thanked Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari for supporting Christian pilgrimage despite the present economic meltdown.
NCPC boss solicited the assistance of the Minister in the area of capacity building for staff of the commission and pilgrimage operators. “We will like a situation where we can receive some degree of training,” he added.
Uja told Minister that he would want pilgrims who go on pilgrimage to achieve three major objectives; spiritually, to build a more nationalistic spirit by exposing them on the way and manner the Israelis project their country and defend their critical infrastructure and to expose them to more productive elements of life.
In his response, the Minister said he considered it a rare pleasure to partner with NCPC, assuring that training of NCPC staff and pilgrimage operators should be explored.
Onyema explained that the spiritual dimension of pilgrimage is very important but should not be an end in itself.
He equally posited that pilgrims should be able to add value on their return from Holy pilgrimage.
On the activation of BASA, he suggested foe further dialogue and negotiation between his ministry and the Ministry of Transportation which also include Aviation in order to make it possible.