The Bauchi Christian Pilgrims Board said on Wednesday that it had dropped four underage intending pilgrims out of the 100 who have paid their fares for the 2017 exercise.
The Executive Secretary of the board, Mr Daniel Shawulu, disclosed this in Bauchi during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Shawulu said that the affected pilgrims were discovered during a screening exercise organised by the board to fish out unqualified pilgrims.
He said that the affected pilgrims were found to be below 30 years of age, as against the 30 to 70 years age limit enshrined in the rules governing the performance of the exercise.
“Going by this development, it means that they cannot embark on the pilgrimage with others, in spite of the fact that they have already paid their fares.
“Their slots will be allocated to other eligible persons who are qualified to perform the exercise,’’ Shawulu asserted.
He disclosed that the board has received 10 additional intending pilgrims who have paid their fares and have been screened.
The secretary said the board was still expecting more pilgrims, before the close of the preparations.
He urged interested persons to approach the board and pay their fares, to enable the board complete its preparations in good time.
In a related development, Archbishop Namuel Babah (rtd) of the Luthent Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN), has said that no fewer than 5, 000 intending Christian pilgrims from the North-East Region are to take part in the 2017 pilgrimage to Israel.
Babah, who is also the Federal Commissioner representing the North-East Zone in the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Abuja, disclosed this in an interview with NAN in Bauchi.
He explained that the pilgrims are from Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states, within the zone.
Babah, who led the screening committee, stressed that “we are working for the embassy of Israel and as we screen you here, it means that we have certified you and that the visa can be given to you.
“During the screening exercise, we trace if you are actually a Christian, a Nigerian, your state of origin, your motives for the journey, age, and to ensure that you are the one travelling and not fronting for someone else.
“We also look out for those who might defect while in the Holy Land,’’ the commissioner added. (NAN)