Chieftaincy Ministry facilitates Christian pilgrimage

Accra- The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs has facilitated the travelling of 200 Christian pilgrims to Israel.

The trip was also facilitated by the Ministry to ensure that Ghanaians who have always wanted to go to Israel embark on a safe and successful trip.

The nine-day trip is a religious one to enable the pilgrims pray for themselves, leaders of the country and the entire citizenry.

Mr Kofi Dzamesi, Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, addressing the pilgrims, said even though many people wanted to be part of the trip, only 200 were carefully selected to embark on the pilgrimage.

This, he said, was because over the years, the Ministry has received complaints from authorities in Israel where some Ghanaians who had gone on a pilgrimage decided to escape to stay and work after the pilgrimage and were jailed and deported later.

Mr Dzamesi said: Let me warn you that if you try to run away, you will be caught and arrested and Israeli prisons are worse than the Nsawam Prison.

Please be cautious too not to accept to look after anybody’s luggage even for a short while when you don’t know what is in that luggage, he said.

He said last year, 50 Christian pilgrims were given the privilege to go on the trip and 200 are travelling this year and hopefully about 1000 citizens would be allowed to travel next year.

He advised them to comport themselves adding that Nigeria facilitates the journey of 40,000 pilgrims to Israel every year, yet they comport themselves and return safely to their country.

Responding to whether government sponsored the trips, Mr Dzamesi told the Ghana News Agency that there is no sponsorship by Government. People have paid for themselves while some of them have been sponsored by others.

He said the opportunity to apply and embark on the trip was opened to the general public and the pilgrimage forms were sold across the country in Omnibank and the National House of Chiefs.

He said after requests from the beneficiaries were received, applicants were given dates for interview and the successful candidates were taken through some processes for the final trip.

Madam Akosua Frema Opare, Chief of Staff of the Presidency, told the beneficiaries to pray for the country.

She urged them to pray for the peace of the nation and renew themselves in order to be distinguished as true Christians upon their return.

Mrs Yvonne Anamzoya, a representative of the One People Travel Agency and a Coordinator of the trip, urged them to get to know each other in order and keep an eye on each other.

She said: When you get to the border line of Israel, they can ask you randomly, do you know this person? And if you can’t recognise the person but claim you are moving as a group, then it will not help.

She advised them to comport themselves because being given visas does not guarantee that they have free entry to Israel and urged them to comport themselves on the journey.

Source: Ghana News Agency