By Albert Akota Abuja
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev Uja Tor Uja has stressed the need to build, promote and strengthen Inter-African Pilgrimage between Nigeria and the other neighbouring African countries.
He disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Cote d’Ivoire Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mrs Toure Maman at the Cote d’Ivoire Embassy in Abuja .
The NCPC Boss stated that Africa is a religious nation that believes in God and so the need to redirect our focus on African Pilgrimage, where people come to Nigeria and other African countries for the purpose of pilgrimage to the Holy sites, and to exchange and extend our views in religion and tourism so as to create peace, development, promote inter-African affairs and business opportunities.
Rev Uja hinted that Cote d’Ivoire has initiated an International Tourist Exhibition programme where they invite first African nations and other nations outside Africa to partake in their cultural, economic, social and religious heritage. He further stated that the Commission would be attending this year’s exhibition as it has always done in the past two years.
According to Rev Uja, “We are here to appreciate the government and people of Cote d’Ivoire for all they have been putting in place to project Nigeria’s image in good light and ensure peaceful coexistence with the people of Cote d’Ivoire. We are here also to appreciate the government of Cote d’Ivoire for inviting us to the 8th edition of the International Tourism Exhibition in Abidjan and assure Cote d’Ivoire of our esteemed presence and full participation”.
“This year I will lead the delegations myself to Cote d’Ivoire to visit some of their churches, spiritual sites, expand our boundaries of relationship and encourage the citizens of Cote d’Ivoire to come to Nigeria for Pilgrimage”.
“We believe that Nigeria will stand to benefit a lot from this exhibition that brings people especially Africans all over the world together for fruitful relationship and partnership.
I am convinced that there is something we can give to Cote d’Ivoire and what Cote d’Ivoire can give to us, so we look forward to ways to build synergy, religious, social and economic relationship, interdependence and brotherhood”. He added.
Rev Uja stressed the need to build a stronger bond, developments and relationships amongst Africans by breaking the colonial code and language barriers.
He advocated the need for French language being made a compulsory language of study in our schools in Nigeria and English in French speaking African countries to help improve inter-african relationship, understanding and bond.
Speaking, the Ambassador, MrsToureMaman, thanked the Commission for their visit and emphasized the benefits and relevance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOu) between the government of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire in the economic, religious and social way, serving as a platform for inter-african affairs, relationship, interdependence, promoting peace and unity.
In her words, “We have a rich Basilica of our Lady Peace; the world’s largest church in Yamoussoukro; the administrative capital and we want the world to come and see what we have done, experience it, and pray with us, thereby making all the countries of the world powerful”.
“The Memorandum of Understanding (MOu) between the government of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire is really very important to us in the religious, social and economic way,” She added.