“As at today over 8,000 Nigerians have come to the state of Israel and back to Nigeria and more are still coming.”
Nigerian pilgrims participating in the October/December pilgrimage are yet to visit Mount Sinai due to the security challenge in Egypt.
“We are trusting God that before the deadline approved by Mr. President, in the calendar of activity, we should be able to round off with our target.”
Mr. Opara told the News Agency of Nigeria in Tel-Aviv that the restriction in the Sinai area was in the interest of all prospective pilgrims and that he was in Israel to meet with the relevant authorities on the matter.
He said the commission was still on schedule and would stop the transportation of pilgrims on December 28 in line with the programme of activity approved by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Executive Security, Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), John-Kennedy Opara, said on Monday that Sinai would remain closed to Nigerian pilgrims until security around the area improved.
“As soon as the place is safe for our pilgrims of course we will allow them to visit Egypt, but as long as there is still some security challenge there we will not allow the pilgrims to go there,” he said.
“We thank God today that the pilgrims are now able to enjoy free movement and the ground handlers are doing their best to be able to meet up with the challenges.”
It would remain closed until security situation improves.
On the progress made so far, Mr. Opara said that the commission overcame the initial challenges and had stabilised the conveyance of pilgrims to and from Israel.
“We don’t want to undermine the security situation in Egypt; we are working with our embassy in Egypt and embassy in Israel here.”
“We are going to stop the transportation of prospective pilgrims on December 28,” he said.
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