President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja flagged off this year’s Hajj as 560 pilgrims from Nasarawa State are set to depart for Saudi Arabia aboard Max Air.
The President, represented at the occasion by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, enjoined the pilgrims and the officials to be good ambassadors of Nigeria. He urged the pilgrims to pray for Nigeria and her leaders.
President Buhari commended the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for effective handling of hajj operations in spite of challenges.
The President said: “You are doing a very wonderful job. We should maintain the momentum.” He urged the commission not to relent as there was no room for excuses.
According to the Nigerian leader, the welfare of the pilgrims was key and the officials should be ready at all times to assist the pilgrims as much as possible.
In his welcome address, Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, advised the pilgrims to be “good representatives of Nigeria by abiding with the rules and regulations of the host country, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Alhaji Hassan further admonished that “our pilgrims here present and others that will follow to pray for the peace and progress of our beloved country, Nigeria.”
The Chairman said the Commission had made and concluded arrangements to ensure that “accommodation and feeding and transportation facilities on ground are the best.”
In his goodwill message, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Audu Sule, represented by the Emir of Lafia, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage prayed for the pilgrims’ sound performance of this year’s hajj.
Present at the occasion were the Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Ambassador Faisal Bin Ibraheem Al-Ghamidy, Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Abubakar Saad represented by the Secretary General of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Prof. Ishaq Olanrewaju Oloyede, Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Audu Sule represented by Emir of Lafia, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage and many other eminent personalities.
It would be recalled that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) advance team consisting of 31 officials left the country for Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
The team, led by the Deputy Director, Training, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, is to organize and coordinate the reception, accommodation, feeding, transportation, health & general welfare of the Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.