The Lagos State Government on Thursday allayed the fear of intending pilgrims who paid for 2020 Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem before COVID-19 outbreak disrupted the process.
The government said the intending pilgrims should not entertain any fear as their money were in safe hands, assuring that they would surely embark on the journey by between November and December.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said that part of the challenges posed by outbreak of Coronavirus on the state’s Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board was the cancellation of the April/May Easter pilgrimage.
Speaking during a stakeholders forum/sensitization of intending pilgrims to Jerusalem at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Elegushi, stated that though the Holy pilgrimage is a spiritual exercise, the delay in plans was part of Almighty God’s doing and that pilgrims must keep hope alive and believe in God’s timing and that airlifting of pilgrims would begin once the Holy lands opened their borders for religious activities.
According to him, “as we are all aware, this pandemic has greatly affected the 2020 pilgrimage, especially the April/May Easter Pilgrimage which had to be canceled. The authorities in the Holy lands (Israel and Rome) had to temporarily close their borders to pilgrims until further notice.
“Let me allay your fears that the 2020 pilgrimage exercise will not hold. I can confidently assure you that as soon as the curve of this pandemic is flattened and the Holy lands unlock their borders, we will airlift the November/December 2020 intending pilgrims.
“We are hoping that 2020 general pilgrimage will hold and therefore we encourage those who have already subscribed to be rest assured that their funds are safe and secured with the Lagos State Government. By the special grace of Almighty, we shall overcome this pandemic.”
The commissioner urged religious leaders across the state to support government’s efforts aimed at flattening COVID-19 curve by ensuring their religious centres remained locked in line with ban placed on religious gatherings.
Elegushi appealed to residents sharing sentiments that the virus was false to desist from such and keep observing government guidelines on COVID-19 by regular hand washing with soap and running water, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and usage of face mask in public places while maintaining social distancing.