Success is peculiar to Lagos, says Muslim Pilgrims Board boss
The Secretary, Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Imam AbdulHakeem Kosoko, has said that success is peculiar to Lagos State as the board is prepared for 2021 Hajj exercise.
He made this assertion on Tuesday, during a courtesy visit to the South West Zonal Co-ordinator of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Gafar Odunola Babatunde, in his office at the Lagos Hajj camp, Akowonjo, Alimosho, Lagos.
Kosoko, who stated that the essence of his visit was to familiarise and seek harmonious working relationship with the zonal coordinator as well as get first-hand information on the prospect of year 2022 Hajj exercise, his vision to surpass the successes recorded by his predecessor in office.
The Board Secretary also revealed that he had the experience of working as Hajj guide, Ulamah (cleric), board staff, board member, special assistant and senior special assistant to a former Governor on Islamic matters before his present appointment, saying he was determined to improve the welfare of his staff, as well as provide them with adequate training in order to improve their capacity and render effective and efficient service delivery to the intending pilgrims.
The zonal coordinator thanked the board secretary and his entourage for the visit. He said that he had always cherished the harmonious relationship existing between the two bodies for many years back.
On the prospect of performing the 2022 Hajj, he affirmed that there has not been any green light from Saudi Arabia yet.
He expressed hope that something positive would happen this year, considering the fervent prayers and efforts going on at the highest level between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, adding that as soon as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) are signed, the time-table of events relating to the spiritual exercise would be released.
He further stated that since the 4th Board of NAHCON under the Chairmanship of Barr. Zikhrullah Kunle Hazzan assumed office two years ago, it came with the idea of making Hajj operations more flexible and easier for intending pilgrims in Nigeria.
Odunola said that the 4th Board in its bid to improve Hajj operations in Nigeria, introduced a lot of innovations amongst which are, the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) already launched in Lagos and other States in Nigeria to encourage gradual savings towards Hajj as well as the Hajj Training Institute which the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has given approval for.
Other innovations according to him, include making Zonal offices more functional, such that a lot of activities would be happening in the zones and the proposed reduction of days spent by pilgrims for Holy pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia to below 30 days so as to reduce cost.
Highlight of the visit was special prayer offered by the Board’s Assistant Head of Operations, Imam Soliu Olohungbebe for Allah (SWT) to make the year 2022 Hajj exercise a reality despite the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic around the world.