Senator Diri made the call on Wednesday during a courtesy visit by a delegation of the Commission led by the Federal Commissioner in charge of the South-South zone, Barr. Amachree Forgiven in Government House, Yenagoa.
Represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo
, the Governor noted that such support would enable the Commission to effectively carry out its activities including sponsoring pilgrims to holy sites.
He said the Hajj Commission enjoys some level of financial support from the federal government and appealed that same gesture be accorded the NCPC.
On his part, Senator Diri promised that his administration would provide support towards sponsoring intending pilgrims to the holy land within limits of available resources.
While appreciating the efforts of the Commission to also propagate the gospel through pilgrimage, the governor advocated the need for members to explore the possibility of adopting certain parts of the country to serve as holy sites as part of efforts to check capital flight.
His words:”For every pilgrimage you embark on, there is a capital flight. There’s no doubt that there are sites in Nigeria that you can use for pilgrimage in view of our lean financial resources.
“It is on record that there is a place in Delta State where it is believed that the bible fell from heaven. In my opinion, such sites could be adopted as holy sites.
“I believe we can explore our local content before we go out there to seek what we may have in our localities. Let me also use this opportunity to call on Federal Government to increase her support to the National Christian Pilgrims Commission.”
Senator Diri equally urged the Commission to domicile its South-South zonal headquarters in a particular state to ensure stability and sustainability rather than operate it as a mobile office.
He therefore urged the Commission to consider siting its headquarters in Bayelsa as the youngest state in the zone as a way of helping it to grow.
The governor who restated government’s commitment to partnering with the Christian community, stressed the need for the Christian leadership to speak out on issues affecting the country..
Earlier in his remarks, Federal Commissioner, NCPC, South-South zone, Barr. Amachree Forgiven had said the visit was to introduce the Commission and its activities to the governor and solicit the state government’s assistance in the sponsorship of intending pilgrims to Jerusalem and other holy sites.
Barr Amachree, who expressed concern that the South-South zone was lagging behind in the comity of zones in terms of funding pilgrimage, appealed for more support from the states to enable Christians enjoy the benefits derivable from such religious programmes.