Exactly the 400 Lagos intending pilgrims that departed Nigeria for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos on Monday, have landed safely in Madinah at 4.24am Saudi Arabian time.
The batch which was led by a member of the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Yusuf Ara and other sub-committee members, consists of 175 males and 225 females.
They left the shore of Nigeria on board an Azman airline’s Airbus A340-600 with flight number ZQ-234X which took off at exactly 8.30pm
The successful arrival of the third flight has therefore increased the number of Lagos intending pilgrims already in Madinah for the spiritual exercise from 851 to 1,251.
While wishing them journey mercy before departure, the Hon. Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi urged them to comply with all the regulations and follow instructions given to them by the Board, especially as it concerns their welfare and safety.
He cautioned them against exposing themselves to the high intensity of the Saudi Arabian sun and eschew spending their limited resources lavishly on frivolities, saying their welfare is of utmost concern to the State Government.
The South West Commissioner of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaja Basirat Akintunde commended the State Government for doing a wonderful job for the intending pilgrims, especially its commitment towards ensuring a hitch-free airlifting exercise for the intending pilgrims.
She specifically praised the Hon. Commissioner for Home Affairs and his team for their doggedness and dedication to duty, saying their refusal to go to their respective homes but staying together and working for the interest of the intending pilgrims through thick and thin is highly commendable.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic matters, Hon. Ahmad Abdullahi Jebe, said that it was a thing of joy that despite some bottlenecks, the State has been able to airlift the third batch of its intending pilgrims successfully.
He added that everything humanly possible would be done to ensure that the few remaining intending pilgrims are airlifted to the Kingdom to meet up with the essential Hajj rites in accordance with Islamic injunctions.
On his part, the Board Chairman, Engr. Shakiru Ayinde Gafar expressed his gratitude to Allah for the level attained so far with the airlifting operation.
He also appreciated the intending pilgrims for their maximum support and cooperation, saying without their understanding, the Board would not have achieved so much.
He therefore promised that the visa challenges being faced would be surmounted and all the remaining intending pilgrims as well as officials are airlifted for the exercise in the Kingdom’s of Saudi Arabia in due course.
Other officials at the tarmac to see-off the intending pilgrims are Hon. AbdulWaheed Lolade Shonibare (Lagos Board member); NAHCON’s Lagos Coordinator, Alh. Gafar Babatunde Odunola, amongst other Lagos State and NAHCON officials.
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