The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Revd. Yakubu Pam has clarified that the commission has not suspended pilgrimage exercises as being reported.
Pam stated this on Friday when the Zawan Old Students Association ( ZOSA) paid him a courtesy visit at the NCPC headquarters in Abuja.
TheFact Daily reports that the clarification is coming on the heels of the NCPC board chairman, Rev. Yomi Kasali’s allegation of corruption and abuse of office against the commission’s Executive Secretary.
Kasali said, the board has suspended all pilgrimage activities.
Reacting to this allegations, Reverend Pam said. “When people see you are achieving, it must attract jealousy that jealousy does not stop at jealousy level, they go and strike and of recent you hear some people say we are suspending because of this , because of that, I want to clear the air because I am accountable to you people and you are my own people that respect me .
“Presently, we have about a hundred pilgrims that is going on now in Israel from the private sector. So you don’t suspend pilgrimage activities the entire commission is about pilgrimage. When you say you suspend it means the office is locked down so there is nothing like that. So we want the public to disabuse there minds from such information. As I am talking to you now, we have pilgrims in Israel, Jordan and as I am talking to you now, my staff are in different states more than two states now, doing screening for pilgrimage activities.
“When you say pilgrimage activities is suspended it means that nothing is happening so there is nothing like that and that is why we Amy to let the public know that there is nothing like that happening we are on and we are preparing to move for our December pilgrimage very soon.
“If you have something against me or the commission, bring it there are channels, you don’t have to take it to social media. Bring it to the office of the Secretary General of the Federation,” he said.
The NCPC boss said , he has been able to conduct three pilgrimages with the little allocation from the federal government.
“Interms of the pilgrimage activities interms of accountability, in terms of monetary, this will be my third year. I have completed two years,and I should be about two years five or six months now on the seat. Mr President has tried giving that we are in a difficult times where there is no money in the country we used to have a budget for running pilgrimage in Israel and other places every year but since I came, this is my third year, I had it one once and I am proud to say that I had it only once and that once I have had to conduct three pilgrimages with it .
“If I was a lazy executive Secretary, I would have sat down and say until I get money before I go on pilgrimage but since 2021 or so that they gave us money, that money was supposed to be for pilgrimage to Jordan but we were able to do three pilgrimages in Jordan, three in Israel and the last pilgrimage in Rome. If I was going to look for money, I will not go for pilgrimage anywhere until I have a budget… i have finished that of Jordan, I will bring another budget for Israel and I also need another budget for Rome but out of all, only one money released to me in the past two and half years that I have been here but I have conducted three and I am about going for the fourth pilgrimage by the special grace of God.
“Until now, money have not been released to me but I am still going for the fourth one.
I want people to know that I have good staff that are managing e little resources we have to carry this project. If we stop pilgrimage it means that this place should not exist .
Earlier in his remarks, the President Of ZOSA, Honorable Danlami Awaje thanked the federal government for appointing Revd. Pam saying, the commission has not recorded any abscondment of pilgrims since he assumed office. .
We have come specially today to tell you how proud we are of you as one of us . We have been seeing on television and on different fora how you have transformed and brought innovations to this commission. We want to thank you for been a worthy ambassador. The Federal government did not make a mistake by appointing you to head this commission.Our prayer for you as a family is that you continue to excel.
“You will leave a landmark that it will take the person that will come after you a lot of effort, a lot of zeal to be able to sustain what, if at all he will be able to surpass you but to sustain what you have established here because, in the years past you have issues of pilgrims absconding when they travel to the holy land but today, I don’t there is any day we heard of it . These are some of the things you have put in place,” he said .
The principal of the College of Mary Immaculate Zawan, in plateau state, Revd. Fr. Mathew Danboyi, solicited for support from the executive secretary and other Alumi saying, the school has many challenges.
“We are here to appeal to you to support the school so that our college will bounce back. The challenges are enormous but I will mention a few.One of the biggest problem that we have is we have very small population of students. Right now, we have just 117 students in the whole school meaning that we can’t have money to pay teachers and the problem right now is that we have the challenge of paying our teachers.
“Right how for five months the teachers have not been paid their salaries and it is a big problem to us and them we need also to renovate the school to upgrade the school because the structures are dilapidated and we neeed to upgrade it and attract other students to our school. The proprietor of the school has assisted us in various ways. The students performance is very good. The last WAEC and NECO exams they performed credibly well. That means we have good teachers and they are doing a great job and we need to motivate them by paying them their salaries.
“We ask for support not only from you but other areas if possible to link us up with other organizations or institutions and if possible, TETFund to see how they can assist us to bring back our school . We know our school is in a strategic place and we also want you and other old boys association to assist us in this regard, “ he appealed .
Responding to the plea, the Executive Secretary said ,” I will take my time in the next two weeks or next year, come and supervise the school and go with authentic report and see whether I can go to UBEC and beg them there, and also go to TETFund and beg them, anywhere I could beg and also call on my good friends that are heads of agencies like me, and here we do not have enough but I can do anything to help just like I said . I will be there in the school to conduct inspection and see what we can do.
“I appeal to others ZOSAs for us to sit down and seee how we can share among ourselves bring resources together and finish the project.That school is placed in a very good location in Jos. That location is a wonderful location that can sell the school both locally and internationally and I see no reason why that school should go down. We will do our best to make sure that we dig it up from where it is .We are many. We need to call back ourselves and see what we can do.
“This visit gives me joy and it adds to my own profile . Today I am grateful and proud that I am a product of well grounded institution no matter the challenges, Zawan has a great history,” he concluded.