*gives 5 days ultimatum to produce evidence of pilgrimage payment
By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) has debunked any receipt of money paid to its account by the Adamawa State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board to prosecute its 2022 pilgrimage to Rome as alleged by one David Simon Dzalla in his write up titled, “My Bitter Experience in Rome under the watch of Rev. Yakubu Pam, Executive Secretary Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission.”
The commission in a statement flatly denied the allegations, stating that “lAdamawa Christian Pilgrims welfare board never paid any money to NCPC as alleged by Dzalla.
NCPC through its Deputy Director Media and Public Relations, Celestine Toruka
Issued to our correspondent gave a five days ultimatum for CAN Chairman of Adamawa State, Bishop Stephen Mamza to produce all evidence of payments on the pilgrims.
The statement read that failure to do so will leave the Commission with no option than to take the next step of action.
David in his write up alleged that the sum of thirty four thousand five, hundred Euro was handed over to the Director of Finance NCPC by the Director of Finance Adamawa State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board for Logistics.
The statement read in parts as follows:
“We want to state categorically that this allegation is spurious and unfounded because the Executive Secretary, ASCPWB Pastor Zidon Love, without recourse to due process engaged the services of a ground Handler, Opera Romana Pellagrinaggi without contract agreement and paid the sum of £76,890.00. Based on the resolution reached between the Commission and the Adamawa State Government, the Commission contacted the service providers Opera Romana Pellagrinaggi and thereafter conducted screening and fixed the commencement of visa procurement from 28TH March to 1st April, 2022 for the first batch of intending pilgrims.
“The Commission completed the biometric capturing and collection of visas and communicated Opera Romana Pellagrinaggi on the visit to Rome fixed for 24th May, 2022 and received a reply that the Commission should give them (Opera Romana) 20 days’ notice or forfeit the balance of £61, 890.
“Upon receipt of the response that the ground handler was not willing to receive pilgrims on the 24th May, 2022, the Executive Secretary of the Commission Rev. Yakubu Pam swiftly engaged one of the approved Ground Handlers – Tabar Tours that had good relationship with Opera Romana to interface with them.
“The decision to engage Tabar Tours was arrived at after the Executive Secretary NCPC consulted with the Secretary to the Government of Adamawa State and the Adamawa State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board. This was necessary in order to make sure the 24th May, 2022 was sacrosanct and to prevent further losses such as tickets procured, visa validity and recovery of the balance of £61,890.
“The Commission wishes to affirm that the NCPC’s role in Adamawa 2022 pilgrimage to Rome was a rescue and intervention mission which helped to save the Adamawa pilgrims from embarrassment.
“The Adamawa State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board had paid for air tickets with Ethiopian Airline as well as ground handling charges to Opera Romana Pellagrinaggi. The board also worked closely with Bishop Stephen Mamza, whom they relied upon for visa procurement to Rome.
“NCPC’s intervention put paid to the Board’s plan to airlift their pilgrims without recourse to the Commission in line with the Act setting up the Commission.
“Consequently, the Commission took over the entire process of their Shengen visa procurement following Rev Pam’s strategic meeting with the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria in Abuja.
“It is surprising that a pilgrimage that took place five months ago has become the headache of David Simon Dzalla who claimed to be part of the exercise.
“The Commission has therefore, requested the CAN Chairman of Adamawa State, Bishop Stephen Mamza to produce all evidence of payments on the pilgrimage within five days, failure to do so will leave the Commission with no option than to take the next step of action.
“It is saddening that David Simon Dzalla has dragged himself into this unfortunate campaign of calumny against this great Christian faith-based agency even when he knows the truth.”