About the Ministry
The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs has a mandate and responsibility to ensure peaceful coexistence among religious adherents.
Faith and believe are personal pursuits. They are spiritual in nature, True faith and the expression of it must be in accord with religious precept and values. These characteristic has implications for our national development, social cohesion, and peaceful coexistence. Understanding and appreciation of diverse faith impinge enormously on our development efforts and pursuits as a Nation. One of the means of getting citizens participation in nation building is to allow space for inner spiritual expressions.
We are mindful of the concerns of particularly the Christian community to be given the opportunity to visit historical and religious sites that have strong connection with their belief and faith. The sites while they signify expressions of testimony in many ways, creates a clear understanding of the growth and spread of their religion. Pilgrimage is a spiritual activity for the renewal of Soul and Spirit. The effect of the pilgrimage presents the adherent the means to know, that whilst believes and faith are intrinsic there are also factual indications. Rituals connected with pilgrimages, especially Christian pilgrimage which is prayer, has a deepening and lasting effect on an adherent. The benefit and the spiritual awaking must have a positive effect on our Country. We must therefore create the opportunity for the venture.
Hon. Kofi Dzamesi – Minister for Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs
We are mindful of the fact that Christians in this country have been going on pilgrimage to the state of Israel and we acknowledge this efforts. These individual pursuits does not enable a lot of Christians to undertake pilgrimage. We know that there are challenges with programing and organizing a pilgrimage of any magnitude. We are hopeful and optimistic that, under the direction of the Ministry we would henceforth experience a much more organized, systemized pilgrimage and the challenges largely overcome.
The Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission provides an umbrella service for Christian pilgrimage and thus been to create a system that has largely eliminated the many previously encountered challenges and made the entire programme smoother for the Christian willing to embark on pilgrimage. We have gone to study the Nigeria experience and has taken useful lessons to enrich our system.
The ministry has set up two committees which are the planning and the screening committees which composed of members of recognized Christian bodies, the National Security, Passport Office and other security agencies to assist in screening of the applicants.
In our view, any adherent should belong to a church that is also registered with a recognized Christian body. The underlying reason is that, the pilgrimage should be observed with the solemnity required. It must be credible and the dignity of it must be upheld. We intend to adhere to this precept and we rely on the Christian bodies, key partners in this programme to lend us unflinching support.
The pilgrimage programme of the Ministry is not to the state of Israel only but would cover other countries where extensive pastoral work was done by the early Christians in Rome, Greece and others. Christians would love to traverse the steps of their fore bears for spiritual renewal and we must make this possible for them.