Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday started a pilgrimage in the holy city of Jerusalem.
Dressed in black with glided shirt cuffs and a black hat, Jonathan, accompanied by a delegation of ministers and lawmakers, walked around the old city of Jerusalem under the protection of Israeli police.
He visited the Dominus Flevit Church, where he was greeted by scores of Nigerian pilgrims, and performed prayers.
"We started our tour and prayers in this place where Jesus cried, to ask the Lord the peacefulness and happiness for our nation and for the world," Peter Obi, governor of Anambra State, told Anadolu Agency.
Jonathan and around one hundred pilgrims walked around the Christian Quarter, where they visited the Upper room (where Jesus had the last supper with his disciples) and marked a minute of silence.
The Nigerian leader and his delegation then went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where they prayed and lightened candles.
"We are inside the holiest church in the world beside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem," John Kennedy, head of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, told AA. "It is a holy moment for us Christians and Nigerians."
"We came here with a message of peace to pray for the happiness of this land and ours," he said.
"Jesus started his message of tolerance from this holy land, therefore, we came here to ask for the world peace," Kennedy said.
The Nigerian president also visited the Church of Gethsemane, where he performed prayers before moving to the Olive Mountain, where he visited the Church of St Peter.
Jonathan is expected to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem later before meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
But Ramzy Taweel, a media officer at the Palestinian President's office, said Abbas was currently on a foreign tour.
"No one knows exactly when he will meet the Nigerian president later this week," Taweel told AA.
Jonathan arrived in Israel Thursday for a weeklong visit, the first such trip by a Nigerian head of state to the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
He is expected to attend the signing of an agreement on air services between Nigeria and Israel on October 29.
The Nigerian leader will hold talks with Israeli officials on means of improving bilateral relations in numerous fields, including trade, economic development, infrastructure, transport, agriculture, communications, culture, education and tourism.
Nigerian policy vis-à-vis Israel has fluctuated since the country achieved independence in 1960, depending on the incumbent president's religion and/or political ideology.
AALast Mod: 25 Ekim 2013, 15:42