President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N160 to a US dollar as official exchange rate for Christian pilgrims to Israel. Speaking with State House correspondents after briefing with the President Buhari on activities of the commission, Executive secretary of Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) Mr. John Kennedy Opara, disclosed this development.

Opara said the President also assured that he would continue to encourage the commission, particularly in its drive towards self sustenance. He explained that this would ensure that pilgrims can afford payment for pilgrimages given that the government had removed its sponsorship.

“As you are aware he (Buhari) has approved $1 to N160 for the conventional exchange rate for Christian pilgrimage operation and he also agreed he will continue to encourage us, particularly as we drive to ensure self-sustenance to make sure pilgrims are able to pay for pilgrimages by removing government sponsorship.”

“This is a journey and we are sure that we are going to succeed. He was very happy with the entire process. We are praying that God will help us to be a source of strength to Mr. President, so that the Federal Government and states will spend the necessary resources on other things, while the pilgrimage becomes selffunding as time goes on,” Opara said.

He said pilgrims going to Israel for the 11-day trip would pay N379,840; while the youth pilgrimage would cost N357,000.

“We are already running four pilgrimages in one year. The first is the Easter pilgrimage which has passed; the youth pilgrimage, which we termed operation catch them young, the family pilgrimage and overall pilgrimage. For those going to Israel for the 11 days’ trip, it is N379,840, and for the youth pilgrimage it is going to cost N357,000,” he said.