Thursday, October 12, 2023

Nigeria halts all Christian pilgrimages to Israel

Nigeria has temporarily halted all pilgrimages to Israel. This move follows a surge in deadly hostilities over the weekend, disrupting the plans of eager Easter pilgrims.

Originally scheduled to depart for Israel and Jordan on Tuesday, the pilgrimage for a group of committed Christians has now been canceled until further notice. The Nigerian government's Christian Pilgrim Commission has confirmed this decision, emphasizing the prevailing uncertainty caused by the ongoing conflict.

Sunny Udeh, the commission's Director for Mobilization and Sensitization, shared his thoughts on the matter, stating, "The war has created uncertainties in our planning for the main pilgrimage in December... we do hope the hostilities will end before the end of the year." It is a sentiment that underscores the desire for peace in the region.

On average, approximately 18,000 Christian pilgrims from Nigeria embark on journeys to holy sites in Israel and Jordan each year. The commission's commitment to ensuring the safety of these Nigerian pilgrims remains unwavering, prompting them to closely monitor the situation in Israel.

The recent escalation in violence stems from an attack launched by the Palestinian militant group Hamas against Israel last Saturday. Tragically, the conflict has claimed the lives of at least 1,200 Israelis, with retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip from Tel Aviv resulting in the deaths of at least 1,000 Palestinians.

The Nigerian government has called for an end to hostilities and a ceasefire between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters. Their stance prioritizes a peaceful resolution to the conflict through dialogue.

It's worth noting that, despite the ongoing chaos in the region, commercial flights from Nigeria to Tel Aviv remain unaffected. The situation continues to be closely monitored, with hope for a swift return to normalcy and peace in the region.

Africa News

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