President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday directed that pilgrim camps should be built in all international airports across the country as part of measures to improve pilgrimage operations to Holy Lands.
Speaking while receiving the report of the federal government’s delegation to the 2013 Christian Pilgrimage led by the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Jonathan said government would start budgeting for the facilities so that all the relevant airports would be covered.
He said: “Pilgrims camps should be built inside all international airports in Nigeria. We must build these facilities for both Christian and Muslim pilgrims since many people are being moved about the same time every year, government must take step to provide such facilities.
“Such facilities can also be used for other things during the period they are not deployed for pilgrimage. We will discuss with the ministers and we will begin to budget for it so that gradually, we will begin to provide the facilities in all our international airports especially the ones that are being used for this purpose.”
He said government would make efforts to finalize the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) signed with Israel to ease movement of people between the two countries.
The president also directed Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo to discuss with state governors who do not sponsor Christian pilgrims like Kano, Katsina, Rivers, Sokoto and Zamfara states at the National Economic Council.