Is it not surprising according to Punch President Goodluck Jonathan will on Wednesday (today) embark on a Christian pilgrimage to Israel.
This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Abati said contrary to media reports that the President would be traveling with 19 state governors and about 30,000 Nigerians, Jonathan would be accompanied by four ministers.
While describing the reports on the bogus number of entourage as a misrepresentation of facts, the presidential spokesman gave the names of those in the President’s entourage to include Senator Emmanuel Paulker; Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe; Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen; Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof. Viola Onwuliri; and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The statement read in part, “While the President may meet and interact with some other Nigerians who are already on pilgrimage to Israel, reports in the media that he is leading 19 state governors and about 30,000 Nigerians to Israel are a misrepresentation of facts.
“Irrespective of President Jonathan’s visit, thousands of Nigerians visit Israel annually during the pilgrimage season which goes on for months and they will undoubtedly do so again between now and early next year.
“It is entirely fortuitous for some of these Nigerian pilgrims therefore that their visit to Israel this year will coincide with President Jonathan’s.
“President Jonathan is expected back in Abuja early next week.”
Abati said the President would meet with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.
He said talks between Jonathan’s delegation and Israeli government officials would focus on the enhancement of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Israel.
The bilateral talks, according to Abati, will focus on areas including trade, economic development, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, communications, culture, education and tourism.