KASTINA State has bagged the best State Pilgrims Welfare Board Award for its consistent in ensuring welfare of pilgrims to the annual Holy Pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
The award was presented to Gov. Aminu Masari, at the 2022 Hajj Lecture/Award, organised by the Independent Hajj Reporters on Thursday in Abuja.
Presenting the award, Mr Muhammad Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of Independent Hajj Reporters, said that the award was based on the performance of the state from 2015 to 2022 in Hajj operations.
Ibrahim said that the State Government has been consistent in providing support for intending pilgrims from the onset of their preparations to the conclusion of their Hajj rites in Saudi Arabia.
“In addition, Kastina State is the only state with an independent Pilgrims Welfare Board, which is not subjected to any form of control by the government.
“The board has been operating without interference from the government, ” he said.
Receiving the award, Masari dedicated it to Almighty Allah.
“We thank Allah for his mercy and for making it possible for us to witness this event today. My appreciation goes to all individuals who work in one way or the other towards the recognition.
“It was a collective effort and I thank all those who contributed to our successes and even those who were there before us.
“I appreciate the support of my deputy, members of the board and all those who made this possible, ” he said.
Earlier, Masari had advised National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to explore the possibility of using modern technology to enhance its operations for hitch-free Hajj.
“I think we should start moving away from archaic ways of doing things by adopting modern technology for enhance organisation and hitch-free operations, ” he said.
Masari also called for more private sector involvement in Hajj operations towards efficiency.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kastina State also won the best accommodation for pilgrims’ award and best organised team award at the ceremony.
Nasarawa State won the best welfare service award, while Bauchi State won the best Hajj Camp preparations award among others.