Plateau threatens to take legal action against absconded pilgrims

Kolade ADEYEMI, Jos


Plateau State Government has threatened to henceforth take legal actions against any pilgrim that absconds from the holy ground .

Executive Secretary of the Plateau State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Rev  Fr George Gorap, disclosed this to our correspondent in Jos, the Plateau State capital, on Friday.

Gorap warned that, “from henceforth any pilgrim who abscond from the holy land in Israel, his or her guarantor would be made to face the full wrath of the law as contained in the pilgrimage form .

He said that the board would henceforth also penalise any person caught selling any pilgrimage form.

The cleric said that the organisation has put in place procedures that will make it difficult for pilgrims to elope while in the Holy Land.

“It  is expected  that Christian Pilgrims to Jerusalem, Israel for December 2020 are to undergo  robust screening exercises to ascertain their eligibility to embark on the holy spiritual exercise.”

Gorap disclosed that in 2018, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong sponsored 1,700 persons and one person absconded. “Last year, the state government again sponsored 1,200 persons and three persons absconded, this year because of the challenges of COVID 19, we are yet to get any notice from the Israel government , however we are preparing and our governor, Simon Lalong has indicated interest to sponsor people for pilgrimage .

“However if we would have to, then  all pilgrims from the state  must provide a guarantor to stand as surety for them before they will be allowed to perform these important spiritual exercises this December,” he said.

He said the Plateau State government is working hard to ensure that abscondment while on pilgrimage becomes a thing of the past.

He commended the Plateau State Governor for leading in the sponsorship of Christians on Holy pilgrimage to Israel and for advancing the cause of Christian pilgrimage in Plateau and in Nigeria as a whole.

He affirmed that the governor had sponsored the highest number of pilgrims from 2018 to date.

Gorap also commended Lalong for sustaining lasting peace in the Plateau, adding that with peace in Plateau, businesses would thrive and investors would be attracted to invest in the state

He called on the governor to remain focused on his developmental strides .