AKS Airport To Airlift Christian Pilgrims to Rome, Greece
16 Jul 2011
Akwa Ibom International Airport (AKIA) has been approved to airlift Christian pilgrims from four states of the federation, to Rome and Greece for pilgrimage this year. The Director-General and Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCNC), Abuja, Mr. John Kennedy Opara who announced this on Wednesday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Governor, His Excellency Chief Godswill Akpabio, at Governor’s Lodge, Uyo, said the states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Enugu.
Opara who commended the governor for building a beautiful airport said the commission decided to use the Akwa Ibom International Airport to airlift Christians to Rome and Greece due to its international standards.
The Director-General said he had undertaken trips to Rome and Greece to seal arrangements with their authorities for airlifting of pilgrims to see the tourist sites and some paths trodden by Jesus Christ while on earth. He stated that the airlifting of the first batch of Christian pilgrims from Nigeria to Israel through the Akwa Ibom International Airport will commence on November 20, this year while the exercise would be completed by December this year.
While appealing to the governor to increase the number from 1,000 to 1,500 pilgrims this year, he appealed to him to encourage local government chairmen and interested persons to sponsor credible Christians to the Holy Land, hinting that the commission would soon open a zonal office in Bayelsa state.
Opera who was accompanied by Rev Solomon Zim Denye, a Federal commissioner for South East and Rev Robinson E. Oritsuwa, a Federal Commissioner for South-South stated that a National Retreat for state chairmen and members of pilgrim welfare boards in the 36 states of the federation would be held in Uyo around September 16-17, 2011.
The governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio thanked the Director-General and other officers of the commission for the visit and for airlifting Christian pilgrims from Akwa Ibom International Airport to Israel thus helping to expose the airport to the international community. “It would be recalled that through you and Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, Akwa Ibom international Airport was exposed to the rest of the world. I recalled too, last year when a white airplane from Israel landed on the soil of Akwa Ibom”, Akpabio recounted. He then announced that he and his wife would join the Akwa Ibom team to perform pilgrimage in Israel this year pledging to liaise with the state welfare board to increase the number of pilgrims for this year’s pilgrimage.
He commended the commission for its selection method to check defection by people and assured that pilgrims using the airport won’t regret as the state government was prepared to provide more facilities there. Governor Akpabio described the job of the commission as being crucial to national development and stressed the need for Nigerians to inculcate in their children moral values to encourage the teaching of Religious Knowledge to reconnect the people to God.