One of the absconded pilgrim

Three pilgrims from Lagos State who went for this year’s pilgrimage in Jerusalem, Israel have absconded, PM News investigation reveals.

The absconded pilgrims include one female and two male.

Sources in Jerusalem confided in our reporter that the female pilgrim was the first to abscond few days after arriving the holy land for the 10 days spiritual exercise.

One other male pilgrim also absconded few days after the female pilgrim was declared missing, while the last one ran away shortly after the thanksgiving service to mark the departure of the pilgrims from Jerusalem back to Nigeria two days ago.

A source said immediately after the thanksgiving service, it was discovered that the pilgrim, a middle-age man was missing and he never returned.

Cases of pilgrims absconding after getting to Jerusalem have been on the rampant in recent time as they see the exercise as the easiest means of getting to Europe.

In 2013, two Lagos pilgrims absconded during the exercise. One was caught while the other was never seen again until the remaining pilgrims left Jerusalem. The same scenario played out in subsequent years.

Investigation reveals that Jerusalem is a place where immigrants could easily escape to Europe to seek greener pasture, thus, some pilgrims hide under religious ritual to escape to Europe during pilgrimage.

However, Nigeria pilgrims observing this year pilgrimage exercise in Jerusalem have been urged to use the experience to impact the nation positively.

Federal commissioner, Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, Mrs Helen Ohoro who gave the charge at the Jerusalem pilgrimage party, organised for pilgrims from Lagos State in Jerusalem, saying that the responsibility to transform the nation lied on Christians.

“As you go back we expect that what you have gained will not be lost. We believe that the pilgrims can turn Nigerians around. A spirit-filled Christian does not need supervision to do the right thing,” she said.

She urged them to impact positively on others and let the light of God shine through them.

Executive secretary, Lagos State Christian Pilgrimage Board, Mrs Olayinka, in her remark said this year’s pilgrimage exercise has been so refreshing, adding that the exercise went smoothly without recording any health challenges.

She thanked the state governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode, for his support as well as the various grand handlers for their hospitality that made pilgrimage a fruitful one.

In his short remark, The president of Tabar Tours, Mr. Joseph Tabar, one of the grand handlers of the pilgrims, said Nigerians were great people.

He thanked the Lagos State Government for making adequate preparations for the pilgrims while admonishing the pilgrims on the spiritual experience.

-Kazeem Ugbodaga

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