The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Shimon Ben-Shoshan, has pledged to strengthen bilateral relations between Israel and Nigeria in terms of moral education.
Ben-Shoshan said this on Thursday in Abuja at the grand finale of the 2019 edition National Bible Quiz competition.
The event was organised by the Embassy of Israel in Nigeria, in collaboration with Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Nigeria, CAN and Nigeria Pilgrims Board.
According to him, the relationship between Israel and Nigeria in every field had been very good and both would always do things diplomatically from one level to a higher level.
Ben-Shoshan said, “We are very happy to celebrate this year’s contest, we had a marvellous contest with participants from across the country.
“Coincidentally, we had people of diverse Nigerian cultures among the participants.
“I was also happy to see a lady among the participants like last year’s, by next year we hope to have more women among the participants make it to the final stage.
“I hope in 2020 we shall have more than 1900 participants; this is the second edition and it has been a long process from the beginning of this year,
In separate interviews, the winners of the competition commended the programme as rewarding and promised to live up to moral expectations.
Mr Chukwuowo Jerry, 18 years, representing Enugu in the Bible contest emerged first and thanked God for the grace to have emerged as a winner.
Jerry, who was the youngest participant in the competition with required age limit pegged at 18, said the process was free and fair.
“I took it as an ordinary contest and I thank God for how it ended in praise, when we get to Israel I will see things that I have never seen.
“I will see things about the Bible I have been reading and to understand the aspects of it in real life, so I thank God,” Jerry said.
Mr Oyare Ayegba, who took the second position, also thanked God for placing him as first runner-up of the keenly contested National Bible Quiz.
Ayegba, who represented Akwa Ibom State said, “I thank God for what he has done for me to emerge the second national champion in the bible competition.
“Being the first runner up is a good thing and I am grateful to God, I contested last year, but I was not among finalists, I was not among the first three.”
In another interview, Mr Akonde Josiah, who emerged third winner, representing Borno, said confidence reposed in him by his parent and friends was an inspiration for him in the contest.
According to him, I am grateful to God and I appreciate everyone who believed in me beyond myself, which is very important.
“It is not really about knowledge but the grace of God. Since March when we started it has been grace.
“Last year I was here and made part of the 12 finalists and still kept a close relationship with those who emerged as winners,” Josiah said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the winners were rewarded with a chance to be guests of honour at the International Bible Contest on Dec. 24, in Jerusalem, Israel.
Mrs Nkechinyere Chidi-Mbah, 39, who hails from Abia, was a winner of the maiden National Old Testament Competition in Nigeria, with 1,800 participants in 2018.