The Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) announced on Tuesday that none of the 350 Nigerian pilgrims, who performed the 2016 self-sponsored Easter pilgrimage defected in the Holy Land.
The Director of the Sensitisation Department of the NCPC, Mr Christian Udegbunam, made the disclosure while speaking reporters in Abuja on the pilgrimage.
The pilgrims returned to Nigeria on March 22.
He said that the commission was delighted to have had a successful pilgrimage without any of the pilgrims in the first batch absconding.
Udegbunam, however, advised the returnees to stick to the experiences they garnered in the Holy Land to renew their faith in God.
“I feel very happy that we had a successful Easter pilgrimage with no issue of defection.
“I want to encourage them that pilgrimage is a spiritual fulfillment that when you go, you renew your spiritual life.
“All the sights exist and it is an experience worth the while, so people should go there and have a feel of Israel.
“Those who have just returned should stick to the Lord for the encounter they had there and they should also remember that God is on the throne.’’
Udegbunam also advised the returnees to share the experiences they had with other Christians since such sharing would be a source of encouragement to Christians.
One of the returnees, Mr Samuel Johnson, described his experience as exalting, saying that the most striking sight for him was Mount Olives.
Johnson said that it was a sight that resonated what words could not express and that the climax of his experience was to physically see what was written in the bible.
“It is a very exerting experience because we have to walk around to physically see spiritual sights and relate them with the scripture which we have achieved.
“The most striking sight was the Mount Olives; the olives have been there for decades and they still look very fresh.
“It resonated with something that words cannot express but for me that is the climax of my experience.’’
He advised organisations, companies and churches to take up sponsorship of less-privileged people for them to experience Christianity.
Johnson also urged the NCPC to formally commence the `Win a Trip to Israel’ scheme so that less-privileged would benefit from it.
Some of the pilgrims from Ebonyi returned through Port-Harcourt, International Airport, while the rest landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Mrs A’ishatu Idowu, the cook in charge of Nigerian cuisine in Israel, said she was there to make the pilgrims happy in terms of cooking the meal they were conversant with back home.
Idowu said she served the Nigerian pilgrims when they were in Israel
“I was there to make the pilgrims happy in terms of cooking Nigerian food for them because some of them were not able to cope with eating Israeli food,” she said.