Plateau Pilgrims Board Secretary Laments Impact of Exchange Rate on Pilgrimage Plans

The Executive Secretary of the Plateau Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (PCPWB), Wanson Yusufu, has lamented the negative effect of the dwindling value of the Naira against the dollar on the Christian pilgrimage.

He said the situation would adversely affect the travel arrangements for the 2024 Christian pilgrimage in the state.

Mr Yusuf said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Jos.

He said the development was one of the factors that might affect the downward review of the size of prospective pilgrims for 2024.

Mr Yusuf commended the state government for its prompt response to the insecurity that has bedevilled the state.

He added that, security issue is also one of the factors that affect the review of the number of contingents.

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“Our plans for the 2023/2024 pilgrimage are in progress. We submitted our proposal to the governor, who graciously approved the proposal earlier; we were hoping to lift quite a number of pilgrims this year.

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“But one of the challenges encountered was the issue of insecurity. When a state is facing such challenge, it calls for the absolute attention of the government and that of anyone that cares about the safety of lives and property of its citizenry.

“So, in response to the challenges of insecurity faced by the state, our preparations were affected, what we were expecting from the government based on the scheduled date of payment, the date passed by, we couldn’t pay the overhead costs for the agreements.

“Initially, we were given the assurance that if we failed to pay the money before January 31, the fare would be reviewed, and looking at the current exchange rates of dollars now, we know the fare will be reviewed; so this is the challenge that we have on the ground.

“When that happens, looking at how the Naira is functioning today, I don’t think the government can give us more money because there is already paucity of funds in the first place,” he said.

“So we are now left with the decision to review it downward, we had initially proposed to airlift 600 pilgrims sponsored by the state government and then 170 sponsored by the local government; that is 10 for each LGA, the governor had approved 500 for us.

“But because of the delay in the payment of the overhead costs, if we are reviewing it downward, it means we have to reduce the number of the pilgrims, and this is a big challenge too because quite a number of people that could have been there will not be there.

“I don’t know how the schedule will be and I think a greater challenge still lies ahead, just like a mother who prepared her food for her five children, lo and behold eight children are present to eat the food, how will she share it?

He concluded “We have few forms to share to people, sometimes I just imagine how we can achieve this successfully. We are trusting that the Lord will help us, He will help us.”


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