Lagos Pilgrims Depart For Hajj In Batches


The 4, 000 Lagos State pilgrims for this year’s pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia  have started leaving the country for the hajj in batches.

The airlifting of the pilgrims in batches by Medview Airline began at the weekend.   At least, 1,720 pilgrims have so far departed Lagos, South West Nigeria for Saudi  Arabia for the hajj.

According to the Lagos State Muslims Pilgrim Welfare Board, the pilgrims would  depart the shore of the country in nine batches with the last batch expected to  depart on 4 November, 2010.

The board had warned that  pilgrims who failed to turn up for their flights stood  the risk of not going to Saudi Arabia for the hajj.

Last week, a one-day seminar was held for the pilgrims to sensitise them on the need  to be good ambassadors of the state and Nigeria at large and while they should shun  illegal activities in Saudi Arabia.

Addressing the hajj contingent at the seminar held at the Old Secretariat, Ikeja,  Lagos, Governor Babatunde Fashola described the occasion as momentous, pointing out  that when the state government planned to meet with the State’s contingent , little  did it know that God had a bigger plan for Lagos.

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To the state’s pilgrims, Fashola said, “Hajj exercise is not an easy exercise but  Allah will make it easy for you. If you cooperate with those who serve you, I am  sure you will not only have a successful exercise but you will have great stories to  tell.”

Chairman of the pilgrim’s board, Alhaji Mubashir Ajanaku said the board was ready to  embark on the journey to the holy land and had put machinery in motion to ensure a  hitch-free airlift of its pilgrims to and from Saudi Arabia.

“We have procured almost 95 per cent of the visas of our pilgrims and we are almost  done with the innoculatioinoculated all the pilgrims, while materials have been  distributed to them.  We are therefore ready to start flying to Saudi Arabia.

“The key area, which is very important, is the airlifting and it is the purview of  the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON.   Officials of NAHCON have informed  us that pilgrims should be prepared to stay for a minimum of 35 to 40 days in the  holy land,” he said.

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