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Saudi Arabia set for Hajj with 2,631 officers, 105 emergency centers as more Nigerians depart

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Nigerian pilgrims boarding a MaxAir aircraft to Saudi Arabia for 2018 Hajj.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority is intensifying its preparation efforts for the coming Hajj season, the Saudi Press agency reported.

The organization will offer emergency services for pilgrims at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and all roads leading to the city, as well as other sacred sites during pilgrimage. It will also be serving guests of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Around 2,631 individuals, including doctors, specialists, administrators and technicians will be on shift in Makkah and Madinah to serve pilgrims this year.
The Red Crescent has prepared more than 69 emergency centers at the sacred sites of Mina, Muzdalifa and Mount Arafat, including the paths leading to those areas.

Thirty-six emergency centers will be spread across Makkah, as well as 15 ambulances and 27 motorcycles.

Twenty-one more emergency centers will be available in Madinah and the area surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque, or Masjid Nabbawi, and more than 10 ambulance centers would be distributed between airport sites and land entry points.

Meanwhile, the first batch of pilgrims from Kaduna State have been airlifted to Madina for the 2018 hajj exercise.

The 560 pilgrims consisting of pilgrims from Zaria and Gida local governments were airlifted by Max Airline.

The Overseer, Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Imam Husayn Ikara disclosed that about 560 intending pilgrims who left the for Saudi Arabia at around 9:28am on Saturday had 371 males and 189 females from both Zaria and Giwa Local Government Areas with ten officials.

“The next batch of intending pilgrims will be airlifted when we secure their visas and also have details of the flight that will be made available to convey them to the holy land”, he said.

Addressing the pilgrims before departure, Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai enjoined them to be good ambassadors of the state and advised them to abide strictly to the rules and regulations of the Saudi government.

He said, “Kaduna State is known for order and discipline and I can say that, the intending pilgrims have exhibited that since in camp. I urge you all to also exhibit the good conducts in Saudi Arabia by being good ambassadors of Kaduna and Nigeria in general”.

The governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Balarabe Abbas explained that, over the years, hajj operations in Nigeria has remained an enigma with every year springing different surprises for stakeholders to deal with, saying, it is a thing of the past in the State as achievements and successes have been recorded.

“Our government has put in place measures which has improved the management of hajj affairs and consequently, strengthened its operations,” he added.

Commenting on the number of pilgrims, the governor said, “Even though the number of intending pilgrims for this year has been slashed by two, which is not a good indication, it makes it easier for the state to handle and achieve good results.”

“Last year, the state recorded the highest number of pilgrims in the country with a total number of 6,713 of which majority were farmers. However, due to low price of agricultural products, the number has dropped to 3,200 this year. The state still has the highest number of pilgrims when compared to other state and this can be attributed to hard work exhibited by the pilgrim board staff,” he added.


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