By Favour Nnabugwu
The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has airlifted 410 as its first batch of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
FCTS commerce the airlifting with a commitment to ensuring that its contingent for the 2022 Hajj operation gets the best treatment comparable to any other state of the federation or even the world.
Minister of State in the FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, gave this commitment while addressing the 410 pilgrims in the batch at the Permanent Hajj Camp, Bassan, Abuja.
A statement signed by Special Assistant to the minister, Austin Elemue said Dr Aliyu hinted that despite the new policies introduced by Saudi Arabia and relevant authorities after the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCT Administration was proactive in ensuring that all its intending pilgrims complied with relevant policies to participate in the spiritual journey.
Aliyu said; “In order to actualize the success of this important religious obligation, the Administration, through the FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, introduced a number of strategies, some of which are orientation, radio enlightenment programmes, administration of COVID -19 vaccines, medical screening and other programmes organized to address possible obstacles that may hinder the success of the Hajj operation”.
She therefore enjoined the pilgrims to remember that Nigeria is passing through some economic and security challenges which require their prayers, just as she called on them to pray for the success of the forthcoming general elections in 2023.
“For this country to come out of these various predicaments, the importance of your prayers cannot be over emphasized. It is in this regard, I urge you all to reciprocate this kind gesture extended to you by being good ambassadors of the FCT and the country at large.
“Pray for the peaceful coexistence of our dear nation as one entity. Always remember that you have no other country to call your own than Nigeria,” she added.
In his remarks, Director, FCT Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Board, Malam Muhammad Nasiru Danmallam, revealed that the board has approved a total of 1,995 pilgrims from FCT to perform this year’s Hajj exercise.
Danmallam commended the efforts of the Minister for making it possible to secure a befitting accommodation in Makkah for the pilgrims which he said is located about 800 meters away from the Masjid al-Haram.
He however used the occasion to warn officials selected for the operation that the board would not tolerate any act of indiscipline, stressing that anybody found wanting during the exercise shall be severely sanctioned.