The Lagos State Government says it has started the preparation of intending pilgrims for pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It added that physical and spiritual fitness of the intending pilgrims was important to the success of the journey. Speaking at a screening at Alausa, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home affairs, Mrs. Grace Oladimeji, said the exercise would make it possible for the government to have prior information about the state of health of the intending pilgrims, as well as their physical fitness. She said, “The government will not disqualify intending pilgrims with minor health issues. However, this screening will help prepare health officials who will be attending to the intending pilgrims in Jerusalem to embark on the journey with medications that would meet the health challenges of our pilgrims. “Also, the intending pilgrims will be subjected to spiritual screening so that we can know if they are genuine and practicing Christians with in-depth knowledge of the scriptures.” Speaking earlier, the South-West Coordinator of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Mrs. Adefemi Taire, said the decision of government to stop sponsoring pilgrims on holy pilgrimages would allow Christians to appreciate the importance of the journey since they would now pay for the journey themselves. She said, “The journey will henceforth be free from political influences from government. Majority of ill-mannered and uncultured pilgrims noticed from past pilgrimages are those either sponsored by government or corporate organisations. “I congratulate the pilgrims for being witnesses of God’s intention for Christian’s in Isaiah Chapter 2: verses 2-3, and for contributing to the establishment of Christian pilgrimage in the country through their self sponsorship.” The Executive Secretary of the state Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Olayinka Oye-Bamgbose, urged the intending pilgrims to guard themselves prayerfully till the commencement of the air-lifting of the pilgrims. Bamgbose said the government would continue to support the exercise in diverse ways to make the journey a worthwhile experience for all through the provision of adequate medical, administrative and overall technical assistance.
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