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‘Reinforce Nigeria’s positive image during pilgrimage’

By Oludare Richards
29 July 2016   |   3:02 am
Director-General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mallam Garba Abari has admonished Muslim pilgrims to always reinforce Nigeria’s high profile in the international community through their conducts and behaviours during hajj activities.
Muslim pilgrims circle counterclockwise Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba, at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, during the 2015 Hajj. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

Muslim pilgrims circle counterclockwise Islam’s holiest shrine, the Kaaba, at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, during the 2015 Hajj. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

Director-General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mallam Garba Abari has admonished Muslim pilgrims to always reinforce Nigeria’s high profile in the international community through their conducts and behaviours during hajj activities.

Abari, who gave the admonition when he paid a visit on the Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Abdullahi Mohammed, stressed the need and urgency for reorientation of national citizens, adding that Nigeria has a high international profile which must be reflected by Nigerians during pilgrimage as people who are not only on religious duty but are also ambassadors of their country.

He also said although character and morals are captured in religious injunctions, there is need to frequently remind Nigerians about them so they can reflect them in their conducts and behaviours.

He added that Muslim pilgrims needed to be thoroughly sensitised on the rules and laws of the host nation before they leave the shores of Nigeria so as to avoid running foul of the regulations of the holy land.

The NOA boss stressed the need for Nigeria’s flag to be mounted at strategic locations in the holy land to help Nigerian pilgrims identify points of convergence and necessary services throughout the pilgrimage.

This, he said, necessitated a close collaboration between NOA and NAHCON as well as the Muslim clergy to ensure that national symbols are properly displayed in the holy land and the right information is communicated to would-be pilgrims about both the religious and national expectations they must fulfill during their pilgrimage.

Chairman of NACHON, Abdullahi Mohammed, however, said the Commission has an orientation mandate to sensitize Muslim pilgrims in all states of the Federation, noting that only well-informed pilgrims can perform hajj acceptably.

He added that NOA’s assistance in this regard is invaluable. Noting that NOA has a history of aggressive social reorientation, especially through its War Against Indiscipline (WAI) brigade, he urged the Agency to rekindle the WAI message.

Mohammed also requested the participation of NOA in the Hajj Implementation and Compliance Committee whose mandate is to ensure that contractual agreements are adhered to by concerned parties during spiritual exercise.