JUST IN: Hajj 2017: First batch of Nigerians leave for Saudi Arabia

Hajj pilgrims
Hajj pilgrims

The inaugural flight for Hajj 2017 carrying pilgrims from the Federal Capital Territory has left for Madinah, aboard a Saudi Arabian airliner, Flynas. 
The flight took off from the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport at about 3:15 p.m. 
The official flag off ceremony was carried out by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mohammed Bello. 
Mr. Osinbajo called on the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the nation and urged them to pray for the prosperity of Nigeria. 
“You represent the largest, single group of Nigerians leaving the shores of the country within a specific time.
“You are all ambassadors of this great country, you should, therefore, conduct yourself with the fear of Allah.
“Please pray for our country, our leaders, our dear president so that he can come back safely to continue to steer the country,” he said. 
The acting president also called on officials working for the pilgrims to “officiate with good conduct, fear of God and know that you are a unique set of people. If you serve the people well, God will reward you here and the hereafter”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman of National Hajj Commission if Nigeria, NAHCON, Abdullahi Muktar, said about 79,000 pilgrims are so far registered to participate in the hajj exercise. 
Of the number, he said 60,000 are from the 36 states, FCT and the armed forces, while over19,000 are registered by Independent Tour Operators. 
Mr. Mohammed said “this number is unprecedented going by the global economic crunch including Nigeria”.
Mr. Mohammed also said about 25 per cent of officials from the commission and outside have decided to sacrifice their hajj and just work for the pilgrims. 
He said the decision is “in tune with the change agenda of the present administration” and called on the pilgrims to take advantage of this sacrifice by calling on the officials to serve them adequately. 
He, however, appealed that “officials are also human beings and can make mistakes, when that happens please forgive and pardon our shortcomings and cooperate with us because we are all representing Nigeria.”
Also, the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad, in an address on his behalf by the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwan Adamu, said only those enabled by God will perform hajj. 
He said Hajj is not tourism but an act of worship. He said the pilgrims must therefore, ensure that they strictly carry out the hajj rites in order to avoid voiding their hajj. 
He also called on them to pray for the country and the safe return of President Muhammadu Buhari. 
“Be sure you eat and rest well but do everything in moderation,” he said.


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  • emmanuel

    At what exchange rate? Infact, Buhari should be tied to stake to face firing squad. He came to change Nigeria from status quo, but ended being the most hopeless, divisive and backward leader in Nigeria history.
    Ask me why, Abacha who used to be the worst; made the world declare Nigeria a pariah state, but he managed stability of the Naira, Interest rates, Inflation ad unemployment.
    This nuisance has reversed every human and economic development indicators known to man in Nigeria, so they are celebrating fantastically corrupt people going for jamboree.
    Recall how Cameron called Buhari and Nigeria fantastically corrupt while discussing with the Queen in 2015? That was a stage managed media blunder, as they deliberately did that to tell Buhari that the BCCI/Commerce bank loot was yet to be cleared.
    Nigeria is a cartoon movie!

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  • Late Maitama Sule

    Very funny country. Other nations are going to the space and doing great things, creating jobs for more than 30m dangerously minded youth.

  • Epsilon_Delta

    This stupidity had to stop! People should go on religious pilgrimage with their money. Afterall what do we get after these…. Your guess is as good as mine.