The enthusiasm and hope of 25 out of the 137 intending Christian pilgrims from Gombe State are dashed when they were denied visas into the Holy land by the Israeli authorities and therefore will not be able to perform this year’s pilgrimage.
The Executive Secretary of the Gombe State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Joseph Iliya Bega, disclosed this during the farewell ceremony of the Pilgrims held on Monday, explaining that no reason was given by the Israeli embassy for the visas denial.
Joseph Iliya further explained that the affected pilgrims have been pleaded upon and were asked to forward names of their choices to replace them within the next four days from Monday, December 31, 2018.
The Executive Secretary also stated that another eight other Pilgrims had a delay in acquiring their visas but explained that the delay in the visas can only delay their departure but will not deny them the pilgrimage exercise.
In his farewell speech, the Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Charles Iliya urged the intending Pilgrims to be worthy ambassadors of Gombe State and Nigeria by ensuring a high sense of humility, responsibility and dedication to the Almighty God.
The Governor called on them to “avoid all forms of evil vices such as drug trafficking, abscondment or any act of indiscipline that will negatively portray the image of our beloved State and country”.
He also cautioned them to be careful with whom they converse with and what they say, shun sensitive diplomatic discussion and always conduct their affairs with discipline.