By JULIANA AGBO, Abuja
The Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission(NCPC) has canvassed for the activation of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement(BASA) with the State of Israel to enable pilgrims fly directly to Israel.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission Rev. Uja Tor Uja, made the plea on Wednesday in TEL AVIV during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Ambassador to Israel, His Excellency Mr Enoch Duchi.
A statement made available to LEADERSHIP weekend through the Head Media of the Commission, Mr Celestine Ogugua quoted the executive secretary saying, “there were some challenges and conditions needed to get BASA activated”, thus he solicited the support of the Ambassador in this regard, adding that, he would want to have local content in the airlift of pilgrims, also to encourage the participation of indigenous airline in the Commission’s airlift operations.
Rev. Uja informed the Ambassador of the Commission’s plan to organise a public procurement workshop for service providers in Israel next year to aquaint them with certain basic Nigerian procurement laws so that they can do business with ease with the Commission.
He solicited the cooperation of the Ambassador in the area of visa procurement and the issue of deportation of pilgrims even with their valid visas, he also requested the support of the Ambassador on how to reduce the menace of absconders during pilgrimage.
While responding the executive secretary, Ambassador Duchi assured Rev.Uja of his full support to the Commission, and promised to support NCPC in all ramifications. He further assured him that the issue of deportation of Nigerian pilgrims is unacceptable.
He promised to intervene and get it resolved with the Israeli authorities just as he would want to see a serious reduction in the number of absconders.
“let us know what your plans are,if you involve us nobody would interfere with your programmes but we will only advise, let us see ourselves as partners in progress serving the same interest, also ensure that intending pilgrims are subjected to thorough screening,” he added.
Rev. Uja assured the Ambassador that he would lean and work cooperatively with him to advance the cause of pilgrimage.
He lauded the Ambassador for making available space for the Commission’s Medical Clinic which is domiciled within the Embassy, and further requested him to also advise the Commission on how best to make use of the facilities at the clinic.