NTDC Authenticates Aokpe Pilgrimage Centre
THE Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has recognised Aokpe Pilgrimage Centre as a religious tourism site of distinction. The centre, located in Okpokwu Local Government area of Benue State, is under the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo.
The Director-General of NTDC, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, while delivering her speech described Aokpe as one of the many credible religious tourism sites in Nigeria that need to be promoted within and outside the country.
The authentication of Aokpe Pilgrimage Centre coincided with the 21st Special Day of Grace Anniversary of Our Lady of Aokpe Mediatrix of all Grace, held at the pilgrimage centre.
Mbanefo said: “Aokpe Pilgimage Centre is our Jerusalem in Nigeria. You do not need to go to Israel for pilgrimage anymore. God has blessed us in Nigeria with one of the world’s most privileged and blessed sites by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, in his keynote address earlier noted that his administration is willing and ready to provide the necessary enabling environment for the realisation of authentication of Aokpe as a pilgrim centre. Ortom, represented by Benue State Director of Tourism, Mrs Dooter Ajoko, expressed optimism that “The world would also come to Aokpe just as we go to Israel and Mecca for Pilgrimage.
God has provided for us what we have been praying for, and we shall make sure we sustain it.” Aokpe, an Idoma territory in Benue State is the second largest town in the state, and the place where apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a Visionary, Christiana Inebu Agbo in October 1992.
Since then the place has become a religious pilgrimage centre for both Nigeria and foreign pilgrims who visit Aokpe for spiritual healings and genuine evidence of Christian fidelity and divine entrustment of the Blessed Virgin Mary.