From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Board of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) has suspended all pilgrimage exercises over financial scandal and flagrant disregard of processes, and abuse of office by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Rev. Yakubu Pam.
The decision was contained in a letter by Chairman of the Board, Rev. Yomi Kasali, addressed to Conference of States, Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Mbaeri Maurice Nnamdi; and NCPC Board Members.
Rev. Kasali said the decision was necessitated by the consistent violation of NCPC Board resolutions by the Executive Secretary has become embarrassing and several negative impact on pilgrimage exercise, in addition to NCPC Boss engaging in officials activities, financial and otherwise, without recourse to the Board.
Part of the letter reads: “I write in my capacity as the Chairman of the NCPC and wish to bring to your notice certain untoward happenings in relation to the running of the Commission. This is necessary to protect the dignity and reputation of the Commission as well as the Christian faith in Nigeria.
“Since the assumption to office of Rev. Pam as NCPC Executive Secretary, there has been spirited and deliberate efforts to undermine the authorities of the Board that is supposed to supervise and ratify certain actions of the management.
“Most of these acts are manifested in, not informing the Board of certain decisions which by the Act setting up the Commission, he has the obligation to inform, outright and brazen violation of the resolution of the Board without any regard to the attendant consequences.
“Some of his actions which have caused serious embarrassment to the Commission, the Christian faith and the country at large are itemized as follows: Rome disaster and Board resolution suspending all pilgrimage activities.
“Usually, pilgrimage activities by the Commission are carried out in Easter and December. So, our activities naturally fall in accordance with this calendar. But the Executive Secretary has, however, refused to abide by this calendar as he organizes pilgrimage activities anytime he wishes.
“To make matters worse, he does not inform the Board of any of such activities, neither does he make proper logistic arrangements, hence pilgrims are usually left to bear the brunt of these high-level disorganisations to the embarrassment of the Commission and the country at large.
“A case in point here is the pilgrimage to Rome. The Executive Secretary, contrary to relevant international laws and treaties, took people on pilgrimage to Rome/Jerusalem without travel visas to Israel. Furthermore, as prevalent in our practices, there were no ground handlers to take care of the various logistic challenges that the pilgrims may encounter, and the pilgrims were left exposed to severe dangers.
“Till date, nobody knows how much was paid for that trip as this was done by the Executive Secretary without anybody’s knowledge. As a result of the serious embarrassment and danger posed by the Rome trip, we met at the Board level and passed a resolution that all pilgrimage activities be suspended, and by December the Board will meet to review the decision and consider proposals for the next operations.
“But contrary to our resolutions that all pilgrimage activities be suspended, the Executive Secretary in his usual manner still went ahead to impose the sum of N1.5 million on states for yet another pilgrimage activity. While there is a serious concern about the outrageousness of the amount, another critical issue was the flagrant violation of the resolution of the Board.”
He, thus asked the Conference of States to distance itself from the unilateral and arbitrary imposition of N1.5 million and note that all pilgrimage operations have been suspended until further notice by the Board. It is important that the issues stated in this letter be given utmost priority.
The Executive Secretary of NCPC, Rev. Pam, could not be reached for comment, but his aide, Pam Ayuba, said he was yet to see the letter, hence he could not respond to the allegations therein.
He said: “I cannot say anything now regarding these allegations because I have seen the letter. Please do me a favour, get the letter and send to me so I can read it and react appropriately.”

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