Bauchi – The Bauchi State Government said it sponsored 2,306 Christians on pilgrimage to Jerusalem from 2007 till date.
Governor  Isa Yuguda made the statement in Bauchi in a farewell message to the 2014 intending pilgrims from the state to Jerusalem.
Yuguda, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Sagir Saleh, said that the state government was sponsoring 417 out of the 418 intending pilgrims for the 2014 exercise.
“In spite of the current economic challenges affecting us as a state, we were still able to sponsor 417 Christians to Jerusalem this year.
“It is my hope that the people of Bauchi State as well as all Nigerians residing in this state will continue to support my administration by being law- abiding and contributing to the development of the state, “he said.
He said that conducive accommodation, security, feeding and other logistics had been put in place for the intending pilgrims to ensure a smooth exercise.
“I am confident that while in Israel, you will all make us proud by being good ambassadors of the state and the country at large, “Yuguda said.
He urged them to pray for Nigeria’s peace, unity and socio-economic development.
The leader of the team, Mr Abdon Gin, who is the state Head of Service, said that 298 out of the 418 intending pilgrims would go in the first batch.
Gin said that arrangements for the transporting the remaining 120 would be soon concluded.
He gave the assurance that the intending pilgrims would be of good behaviour.
Earlier, the Chairman of the state’s Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Rev. Shuaibu Byel, thanked the governor for the support.
According to him, the people- oriented programmes of the Yuguda-led administration have continued to strengthen peace and unity in the state.
He expressed sadness that only one of the intending pilgrims was self-sponsored.
He called on the leaderships of churches and wealthy individuals to help in sponsoring pilgrims to Jerusalem.