President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a special
exchange rate for this year’s Christian pilgrimage to Israel.
The Executive Secretary, the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims
Commission, Mr. John Kennedy-Opara, disclosed this to
State House correspondents shortly after briefing the
President of the commission’s activities inside the
Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Kennedy-Opara said Buhari has approved the rate of N160
to $1 for those who will take part in the exercise.
He said, “The President has approved $1 to N160 for the
conventional exchange rate for this pilgrimage operation
and he also agreed that he will continue to encourage us
particularly as we drive to ensure self-sustenance, to make
sure that the pilgrims are able to pay for the pilgrimages
after removing government sponsorship.
“This is a journey and we are sure that we are going to
succeed. So the President was very happy with the entire
“We are praying that God will help us to be a source of
strength to Mr. President, so that the Federal government
and states will spend the necessary resources on other
things while the pilgrimage is self-funding as time goes on.”
Kennedy-Opara said the President was happy with
commission after his presentation.
He said the commission was already running four different
kinds of pilgrimages in one year.
He listed them to include Easter pilgrimage; the youth
pilgrimage tagged “Operation catch them young”; the family
pilgrimage and the main pilgrimage.
He said those going to Israel for the 11 days trip will pay
N379,840, while the youth pilgrimage will cost N357,000.
“The beauty of what we are doing is that we have added skill
acquisition. In other words, people who go on pilgrimage
can undergo the skill acquisition programme organised by
the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission and Ministry of
Agriculture, Israel to train our people in the area of
“We are also introducing the pilgrimage pilot lottery scheme
that will enable people who are lucky to be able to go on this
trip without much dependence on the state and the Federal
Government,” he added.