The Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), on Friday in Abuja, received the first batch of 16 beneficiaries of the Support a Pilgrim to Israel (SAPTI).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the commission had on April 9, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with regulatory bodies to formalise the process and commencement of the SAPTI programme.
The NCPC Executive Secretary, Rev. Tor Uja, described the project as a balanced programme that would ensure that ordinary Nigerians had the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land.
Uja, however, called on the 16 winners to conduct themselves in a positive way that would protect the interest of the commission and the country at large.
“These are the first set of SAPTI that we are sending for pilgrimage; the programme is provided so that people who may not ordinarily have access can do so.
“It is like the wheel of justice that anybody can emerge a winner from.
“I want this first group to prove to Nigerians that SAPTI is real, we want to challenge Nigerians to patronise it, because anybody can be a winner’’.
He added that SAPTI was a balanced programme which ensures that the winners were taken to Israel as honourable and respectable Nigerians.
Uja urged the winners to; “ take the beauty of Nigeria with humility to Israel and bring the glory back to the country’’.
He further charged them to imbibe Godly qualities by remaining humble before men as well as develop a giving spirit so that others could be blessed through them.
“I urge you to generate service even in the mist of opposition and build yourself in honour for God, the journey to Israel is an honourable engagement’’.
He, however, stressed that the programme was not limited to urban cities, adding that plans were under way to make it more accessible to the people at the grassroots.
Mrs Mary Owhonogu, one of the winners who spoke to NAN, expressed excitement and promised to share her experiences with people of her community on her return.
“I have to tell them more about Jesus and that heaven is real for them to make up their minds,’’ she said.
Rev. Moses Ochefu, also a winner, commended NCPC, adding that the SAPTI programme was real and would help Christians, especially those in the grassroots to visit the Holy Land.