Government begins airlifting of 80,000 pilgrims
No fewer than 80,000 pilgrims have been scheduled to be airlifted for this year’s hajj in Saudi Arabia.The airlifting exercise, which began yesterday at Sultan Abubakar III Airport, Sokoto, will last five weeks.
Pilgrims from Sokoto and Zamfara states were among those airlifted on the inaugural flight.According to a Director in the Ministry of Transport and Chairman of the Aviation monitoring committee, Adamu Wakil, the pilgrims would be airlifted from 17 airports.
Wakil said safety and security infrastructure were being given priority in airports to ensure seamless passenger facilitation.In his welcome address, chairman of the National Hajj Commission (NHC), Abdullahi Muktar Mohammed, urged the pilgrims to be good ambassadors and shun acts that could dishonour their faith.
Meanwhile, Senator Aliyu Wamakko (APC-Sokoto) has called on pilgrims to seek Divine intervention for Nigeria to overcome its current economic and security challenges.
Wamakko, who told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Sokoto that Nigerians expected fervent prayers from the pilgrims for God to turn around the nation’s socio-economic activities, said that with God, all things were possible; hence, the need for Nigerians, irrespective of religious and political differences, to pray for leaders to ensure good democratic governance.
Also, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State cautioned intending pilgrims from the state to take the hajj exercise as a serious religious obligation.Bello, who stated this yesterday at the Abuja hajj camp in his farewell message to the pilgrims, said adequate accommodation had been provided for them.