The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has assured the intending pilgrims from the State of an improved and seamless spiritual exercise in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Governor gave the assurance recently, during the beginning of a three-day meeting between the Lagos Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board and the intending pilgrims on 2022 Hajj and Umrah exercises held at the Shamsi Adisa Thomas (SAT) Mosque, Old Secretariat, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.
Speaking on his behalf, the Hon. Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi expressed Mr. Governor’s gratitude to the intending pilgrims for their understanding, steadfastness and the trust they reposed in his administration by leaving their Hajj fare with the State since 2020, adding that he would never take the gesture for granted.
He stressed further that the State Government would do everything humanly possible to ensure that the intending pilgrims had a spiritually fulfilling experience during the Hajj exercise.
According to the Hon.Commissioner, some of the efforts being put in place towards ensuring a befitting Hajj operation include, engaging a reputable and Internationally recognized Airline to airlift the intending pilgrims to and fro Makkah and Madina within a short period of time.
Others include, ensuring that the intending pilgrims are accommodated in standard hotels closer to the Haram both in Makkah and Madina; provision of sumptuous meals, Local transportation and camping them in the prestigious ‘Tent B’ during their stay in Muna. He stressed that the ‘Tent B’ which is more expensive than ‘Tent C’ usually occupied by other states, is being augmented by the State Government in order to give the intending pilgrims first-class treatment and the comfort they deserved.
While appreciating the Saudi Arabian authority for lifting the COVID – 19 restrictions and other protocols, he prayed that Allah should spare the lives of all intending pilgrims to enable them perform the forthcoming religious obligation in sound health and return back home safely.
Elegushi commended the Chairman/CEO of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Barr. Zikhrullah Kunle Hassan for his selfless efforts at injecting new ideas and innovations to Hajj administration in Nigeria.
While noting that one of the major plans of the NAHCON’s Chairman who is presently in Saudi Arabia working towards a successful Hajj operation, was to reduce the Hajj fare to the barest minimum, Elegushi urged the intending pilgrims to be prepared for a possible increment in the fare due to the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and exchange rate for the US dollars. He however noted that it was not the intention of the State Government to increase the fare but to have it reduced.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Board, Engr. Shakir Ayinde Gafar appealed to all the intending pilgrims to ensure that all their traveling documents are intact. He emphasized that any intending pilgrims whose International Passport’s validity is less than six months before departure should endeavor to renew it with the Nigeria Immigration Services. He added that the Board would seek the assistance of the Immigration in order to fast-track the re-issuance of the passport for the affected intending pilgrims.
Gafar also urged them to ensure that they get all the three doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, warning that anyone who fails to get the three doses completely would be denied entry into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The three-day meeting was designed by the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board to brief all the intending pilgrims about the new development from Saudi Arabia in respect of the 2022 Hajj and Umrah exercises and adequately prepare them for the journey.
All the intending pilgrims were grouped for the briefing on daily basis according to their Local Government Areas for the purpose of crowd control. While Agege, Ajeromi- Ifelodun, Alimosho, Amuwo Odofin and Epe LGAs were fixed for Tuesday 15th March, 2022, Apapa, Badagry/Ojo, Eti-Osa, Ifako-Ijaiye and Ikeja LGAs were fixed for the second day which is Wednesday 16th March, 2022. The third day Thursday 17th March, 2022 will be the turn of Ikorodu,. Kosofe, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Mushin, Oshodi/Isolo, Shomolu and Surulere LGAs at the same venue.