NCPC to sanction illegal tour operators to Jerusalem


FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Christian Pilgrims

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam, has said that the commission would deal decisively with unregistered tour operators conveying Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land.

In a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja, Mr Celestine Toruka, Head Media and Public Relations, Pam said the commission would no longer tolerate such infractions.

The NCPC boss who met with the Christian Tourism Practitioners Association of Nigeria (CTPAN) in Lagos, said henceforth, culprits will be sanctioned.

According to him, only tour operators fully registered and licenced by the commission will be allowed to operate in order to protect the image of Nigeria.

“The commission will not allow any illegality henceforth”, he stressed, adding that only the commission has the full mandate to register agencies involved in Christian pilgrimage operations.

Pam said the commission had recorded zero abscondment of pilgrims in Jordan, the first time in the history of Christian pilgrimage in the country.

He urged the tour operators to leverage on the giant strides made by the commission and ensure that no pilgrim absconded under their watch.

Pam stressed that only operators who displayed high integrity would be licenced by the commission.

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The executive secretary said he had recently met with Israel Tourism Minister, and assured that pilgrimage to Israel, which was stalled due to COVID-19, will commence soon.

Pam said all intending pilgrims must take two jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine before being allowed to travel.

He revealed that the possibility of having a direct flight from Nigeria to Israel was discussed with the Israeli authorities.

Pam urged the tour operators to embark on strong advocacy and mobilization of intending pilgrims, adding that he would also meet with officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria and other stakeholders on the 2021 pilgrimage.

Earlier, the President of CTPAN, Rev. Israel Kristilere thanked the NCPC boss for the meeting and his promise to work closely with the association.

He expressed the support of the association to the commission’s plan to take punitive measures against illegal tour operators.

Kristilere urged the executive secretary to make the meeting biannual, in order to keep them abreast with happenings in the pilgrimage sub-sector.

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