The Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) has vehemently repudiated allegations of gross misconduct against its executive secretary, Yakubu Pam by Catholic Bishop of Yola diocese, and chairman christian association of Nigeria Adamawa State, Bishop Dami Mamza.
Mamza has during a press conference in Yola on Thursday accused Pam of gross misconduct and running the commission with haughtiness, highandedness and blithe regard to rules and regulations.
But in a swift riposte, the NCPC through its spokesman, Celestine Toruka, a
Deputy Director and Head Media and Public Relations said the accusations were baseless.
“To put the record straight, Adamawa State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board wanted to airlift intending pilgrims to Rome in November last year without recourse to NCPC.
“NCPC insisted that the board had no such powers to airlift such number of intending pilgrims to Rome because it is only the Commission through its establishment Act of 2007 is mandated to coordinate and superintend all Christian pilgrimage activities by supervising the movement of Christians to the Holy sites around the world.
“This was put to rest following the intervention of the Governor of Adamawa State, His Excellency Ahmadu Fintiri and both the Secretary of the State Government and the Chief of Staff who pleaded that NCPC should help the board to procure visas to the intending Adamawa pilgrims.
“This presupposes that all ground handling issues and flight arrangements for the pilgrims had been concluded before recourse to NCPC.
“I want to reiterate that NCPC only intervened because of the need to properly carry out extreme vetting on the intending pilgrims for the purpose of securing visas.
“The Commission was never part of any logistics arrangements for Adamawa pilgrims. It is therefore surprising that the respected Catholic Bishop of Yola Dioceses, His Grace, Bishop Mamza is accusing the Commission of gross misconduct and corruption even though he knows that the Commission was only called to save the Adamawa Rome pilgrimage trip from collapse.
“He should channel his grievances to the Adamawa State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board who handled all aspects of the Rome pilgrimage except visas.
“It is even strange that the Chairman of the State Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN is the one talking about pilgrimage exercise, the Commission does not deal with CAN State Chapter rather it deals with the State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Boards. This is an aberration except there is an ulterior motive behind it.
“The Adamawa Rome Pilgrimage took place between 23rd -28th May, 2022 and a formal report was submitted to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, our supervising body.
“How can a pilgrimage that took place over five months ago become an issue of criticisms and alleged corruption?
“The Chairman of CAN Adamawa State should not usurp the functions of the Adamawa State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board; let them speak for themselves as the facts and figures of that pilgrimage are intact.
“One would have expected that the Catholic Bishop would have channeled his concerns to the appropriate authorities rather than granting press conference.
“The fact remains that what the Commission did in the Adamawa Rome trip was a rescue and intervention Mission,” the statement said.