President Muhammadu Buhari has flagged off the 2023 Muslims Pilgrim exercise at the Hajj Wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja with the air lift of 445 pilgrims from Nassarawa state and 27 Hajj officials.
The President ably represented by the Hon. Minister of state for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada, praised the Zikrullah led commission for a very good job and urged them to continue.
He urged the commission to manage the pilgrims very well as many are not learned and some are leaving their states for the first time and are lacking in exposure. He urged the pilgrims’ to be good ambassadors of Nigeria and Islam. “Assist them as much as possible to enable them discharge their religious obligations that they are there for. Some of them have never traveled outside of their communities, your role means that the entire live of these human beings have been entrusted into your hands,” he said
.Speaking further he thanked the Saudi ambassador to Nigeria on the efforts of his country especially the custodians of the two holy mosques of Makkah and Madina who are always putting extra effort to ease the plight of pilgrims and ensure they have a wonderful and hitchfree hajj exercise. He then charged the pilgrims to pray for the peace and security of the country beforehe officially flagged off the 2023 Hajj exercise.
Speaking earlier in a Good will message Professor Ishaq Oloyede the secretary general od the Nigeria Supreme council for Islamic affairs while speaking on behalf of the sultan of sokoto His Eminence Saad Abubakar III felitated with NAHCON Chairman/CEO Nigerians on this auspicious occasion of the inaugural Flag off of the 2023 Hajj Exercise.
“knowing the antecedence of the Chairman in precious assignments, he expects nothing but the best” he said. He urged pilgrims to be law abiding and to always try to recite Suratul ASR(Qur’an 103) 1. By (the Token of) time (through the Ages), 2. Verily Man is in loss, 3. Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” and imbibe its teachings especially verse 3, for one pilgrim may be well behaved and of good character but other may not hence the need to act righteously and encourage it.
The chairman house committee on Foreign affairs, Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa highlighted most of the challenges experienced by the commission especially the war in Sudan which resulted in the closure of the Sudanese Airspace and consequently leading to increased Hajj fares as a result of longer flight hours. “Flight to Jeddah was usually four to five hours but is now seven hours which means consumption of more aviation fuel” he had lots of praises from the how the commission was able to surmount those challenges.
The Chairman/CEO National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) in his welcome address thanked Presindent Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support year in year out in ensuring smooth hajj operations. He said the commission has succeeded in creating jobs for Nigerian Caterers in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a result of the Commission insistence that the Saudi caterers partner Nigerians so as to have local dishes available. He thanked the leadership of the air cariers, Federal airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as well as the minister of aviation for their efforts in resolving the crises as a result of the War in Sudan.