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As scheduled, an advance team of thirty-one (31) officials of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Sunday, May 21, departed for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, ahead of Hajj 2023 airlift operations.

According to statement issued by the Commission’s Deputy Director, Information & Publications, Mal. Mousa Ubandanwaki, the team made up of 21 NAHCON officials and 10 medical personnel will be in Saudi Arabia for the final preparation to receive the first set of Nigerian pilgrims.

Last week during the inauguration of national media team for hajj 2023, the Chairman/CEO announced that the inaugural flight for this year’s Hajj from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia has been scheduled for Thursday, May 25, with Nasarawa State set to produce the first batch of intending pilgrims to be airlifted.

Mal. Ubandanwaki said, “The team is to organize and coordinate the reception, accommodation, feeding, transportation, health and general welfare of the pilgrims in the holy land throughout the Hajj period led by the Deputy Director, Training, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris.”

Chairman/CEO, NAHCON Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan described Hajj as a global issue and whose aim is to establish unity among the Ummah. He said this at a brief farewell ceremony held at the Hajj House before their departure to the holy land. He therefore enjoined the officials to take their job seriously by identifying the best methods to achieve success in their assignments which is for the pilgrims to enjoy value for money and obtain Hajj Mabrur.

Speaking further he said, “You must be diligent, committed, vigilant and particularly, you must have patience and act in the right manner at all times, so that at the end, you can achieve the benefits of here and the hereafter”

The Chairman also said in spite of the challenge posed by the Sudan military crises, the Commission was able to fulfill its promise and is on course to ensure that the inaugural flight set for Thursday 25th May remained sacrosanct. He then prayed Almighty Allah to assist the Commission in making this year’s Hajj, the best experience for the Commission and the Muslim Ummah yet.

Also speaking at the event, the Commissioner in charge of Policy, Personnel, Management and Finance (PPMF), Alhaji Nura Hassan Yakasai described the event as epoch, stressing that it markes the beginning of 2023 Hajj operations. He described the advance team as the foundation on which the success of this year’s Hajj will be built.

”If it is very strong, then the rest of the structure will be solid. Therefore, I want to enjoin you to discharge your duties with utmost sense of responsibility and I want to assure you of the Commission’s support for your team to achieve the desired objectives”. He said.

In the same vein, the Commissioner in charge of Planning, Research, Statistics and Library Services (PRSILS), Sheikh Suleiman Momoh enjoined the team members to pray for the success of the Hajj exercise when they get to the holy land.

“I just have one request for you and that is, when you get to Madinah, please go and pray for the success of this year’s Hajj”, he noted.

Alhaji Tajudeen Akande and Dr. Galadima while responding on behalf of the advance team, expressed appreciation to the management for the trust and confidence reposed in them and assured of their determination and readiness to make this year’s Hajj more successful than previous years.

“On behalf of the team, I want to thank the management for the support extended to us. We will put in our best to ensure we achieve success”, said Akande.

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