The NIGERIA CHRISTIAN PILGRIM COMMISSION ACT commenced on the 28th of May, 2007. It is an Act to re-organise the role of the Federal Government in the co-ordination of Christian pilgrim matters, the consequential repeal of the Nigerian Pilgrims Act, 1989 and to establish a National Pilgrim Commission that will license, regulate,perform oversight and supervisory functions over other bodies and agencies and for related matters. Enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it has a sister act in the NATIONAL HAJJ COMMISSION OF NIGERIA (NAHCON)
. It should be noted that subject to section 6 of the Interpretation Act, the Nigerian Pilgrims Commission Act is repealed and the assets and liabilities of the Commission established by the said Act are hereby transferred to the Commission established by this Act.
According to the Act in Section 1, There is established a body to be known as “the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission” which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal. The Commission may also sue and be sued in its corporate name, hold, acquire and dispose of any property, movable or immovable as provided for in Section 2. With regard to the compositon of the Commission, it shall consist of – a Chairman; a Secretary to the Commission; a representative, from each of the following Federal Ministries and bodies (as an ex officio member}-Aviation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Foreign Affairs; Health; Internal Affairs; and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).The Chairman and members of the Commission shall be paid such remuneration and allowances as the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission may from time to time determine.
The functions of the Commission shall include-
(a) licence, regulate, supervise and perform oversight functions over organisations, associations (corporate or non-corporate) or similar bodies engaged in-
(i) organising and co-ordinating the movement of persons from Nigeria to Jerusalem and other Holy Sites;
(ii) the provision of accommodation, transportation and other services related to pilgrimage in Israel; and other Holy Sites;
(b) liaise and co-ordinate with the appropriate Government authorities or organs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Israel on the rules and regulations governing entry into and staying in Israel for the purposes of pilgrimage including all appropriate immigration, passport and related consular services;
(c) co-ordinate the provision of health, financial, security, customs, immigration and related services to persons proceeding to, or returning from, Israel, after pilgrimage;
(d) ensure the establishment and management of pilgrims camps and related facilities,equipments and such other necessary materials;
(e) establish or set up and maintain libraries of books and other relevant publications as well as cinematograph and other facilities of use to persons interested in or desirous of undertaking a pilgrimage, so however that the library shall open to the public upon and subject to any condition as to the use which the Commission may think fit to impose
(f) conduct campaigns on pilgrims, educative as well as religious, in all States of the Federation, and the Federal Capital Territory;
(g) appoint such number of medical practitioners and medical staff as it thinks fit;
(h) issue guidelines and rules that will ensure that the States Pilgrims Welfare Agencies provide appropriate welfare services and guides for pilgrims; and
(i) do such other things that are conducive or incidental to the discharge of the foregoing functions, provided that this subsection shall not be interpreted to be conferring any additional functions on the Commission.
Also the funds of the Commission shall consist of-
(a) all such sums as may be charged by the Commission as fees, commission or dues for its services;
(b) all revenue accruing to or vested in the Commission by way of grants-in-aid or otherwise howsoever;
(c) any other moneys saved by the Commission such as proceeds from the operation of the Pilgrim Savings Scheme or borrowed pursuant to the provisions of this Act or any other enactment; and bequests, gifts and donations.
In respect of the revenue of each financial year, the Commission shall, except in the case of the first pilgrimage after commencement of this Act, prepare and submit to the President not later than three months before every pilgrimage an estimate of its expenditure and income during the next succeeding financial year; provided that the Commission shall submit an advance estimate whenever it is requested to do so by the President.Subject to the prescribed rules, the Commission shall keep proper account and records in relation to its fund in accordance with the Public Accounts Rules and Guidelines issued by the Accountant-General of the Federation.
The Commission shall cause its accounts to be audited not later than six months after the end of each financial year to which the accounts relate and the auditors shall be appointed from a list of Auditors approved by the Auditor-General of the Federation. The Commission shall open and operate bank accounts, and may take advances, borrow money or undertake financial transaction in accordance with extant financial regulation. The Commission may regulate/supervise the establishment of Pilgrim Savings Scheme by those who want to adopt the approach, and the Commission may set up a Board of Trustees, for the savings schemes, comprising of persons of high integrity who are not members of the Commission. It shall be the duty of the Commission to determine the remuneration and allowances of employees in consultation with the National Income, Salaries and Wages Commission.
Adedunmade Onibokun Esq.