President Jonathan Leaves For Pilgrimage To Israel On Friday

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan will depart Lagos on Friday to undertake a brief pilgrimage to Israel.

The President, who will be accompanied by the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba, and his principal aides will, in addition to visiting Christian Holy sites, join other Nigerian pilgrims in a prayer session for the well-being and progress of the country at an Inter-Denominational Service in Jerusalem on Sunday.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, he is expected back in Abuja on Monday.

Before leaving for Israel, President Jonathan would participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Seme-Krake Joint Border Control Post on Friday morning.

The President would be joined at the event by President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic and officials of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Seme-Krake Joint Border Control Post is being constructed under the ECOWAS Transport Facilitation Programme which has the objective of boosting trade and economic relations among member countries.

Mark, others to attend Onaiyekan’s consecration, visit Suntai

President Goodluck  Jonathan is sending an official delegation headed by the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark to represent the Federal Government at the formal consecration of Archbishop John Onaiyekan as a Cardinal of the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican tomorrow.

This was confirmed by a statement signed by the special adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

Other members of the delegation are the Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Oghiadomhe, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, the Minister of State (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide and the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa Chapel, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba.

It will be recalled that Archbishop Onaiyekan’s elevation to the College of Cardinals was announced by the Vatican on October 24, this year.

President Jonathan has also mandated members of the delegation to stop over in Hanover, Germany on their way back to visit Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State who is receiving treatment there for injuries sustained in a recent plane crash.

The delegation which is scheduled to leave Abuja today is due back on Sunday.

Dickson lays foundation for ecumenical centre in Bayelsa

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has performed the foundation laying ceremony of the State Ecumenical Centre in Yenagoa , the state capital.

He explained that the decision to build the centre was borne out of his administration’s desire to appreciate and dedicate the state to God for his manifold blessings.

Governor Dickson, who expressed gratitude to the church for their continued prayers and support, emphasized the need for Bayelsans to form the habit of thanking and appreciating the goodness of God at all times for His kindness and mercies.

“As the governor of Bayelsa state, I have every reason to thank God. During our electioneering, we put God first in everything that we did and we were able to record a political feat that is unprecedented in the history of our dear state” Governor Dickson remarked.

He went further, “In spite of the threat and the reign of terror then, no life was lost while God has given us victory over all the litigations instituted against this administration.

Whatever feat recorded by this administration, it is to the credit of the people of Bayelsa state”.

“For this administration to succeed and deliver the dividend of democracy as promised during our campaign, we need the support of everybody”.

Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Bayelsa State chapter, Most Reverend Israel Ege thanked the governor for the warm relationship between the church and government, noting that the state has recorded another landmark achievement by setting aside a particular day to give thanks to God.

Ege, quoting from the gospel according to Saint Luke and the Book of Psalm, stressed the need for thanksgiving, adding that the state had in the past gone through turbulence, notably the recent flood that left in its trail the destruction of property worth millions of naira and the recent Supreme court verdict that upheld the victory of Governor Seriake Dickson election.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of the contracting firm, Core Services and Consulting International Limited, Mr. Victor Omobude said the project when completed would not only be a worship centre but also serve as an iconic tourist attraction in the state.

According to him, the edifice, which is designed by world renowned architect, Professor Giorgio Pagnoni comprises restaurants, offices, conference rooms and an altar with a remote control hydraulic system.

For better cooling effect, he added that the centre will also have about 5 kilometre of underground piping to circulate natural air as back up to the normal air-conditioning system.

In their separate remarks, the Chaplain of Aso Villa Chapel, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba and Apostle Zilly Aggrey of the Royal House of Grace International Church commended the state government for embarking on the project and prayed God to continually bless the Governor.

The centre to be situated at the gateway town of Igbogene, on completion is expected to have a sitting capacity of about 3,000 people.