The first batch of intending pilgrims from Kaduna state have been airlifted to Madina for the 2018 hajj exercise.
The 560 pilgrims consisting pilgrims from Zaria and Gida local government were airlifted by Max Airline.
Addressing the intending pilgrims, the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai tasked pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the state and advised them to abide strictly to the rules and regulations of Saudi government.
He said, “Kaduna State is known for order and discipline and I can say that, the intending pilgrims have exhibited that since in camp. I urge you all to also exhibit the good conducts in Saudi Arabia by being good ambassadors of Kaduna and Nigeria in general”.
The governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Balarabe Abbas explained that, over the years, hajj operations in Nigeria has remained an enigma with every year springing different surprises for stakeholders to deal with, saying, it is a thing of the past in the State as achievements and successes have been recorded.
“Our government has put in place measures which has improved the management of hajj affairs and consequently, strengthened its operations,” he added.
Commenting on the number of pilgrims, the governor said, “Even though the number of intending pilgrims for this year has been slashed by two, which is not a good indication, it makes it easier for the state to handle and achieve good results.”
“Last year, the state recorded the highest number of pilgrims in the country with a total number of 6,713 of which majority were farmers. However, due to low price of agricultural products, the number has dropped to 3,200 this year. The state still has the highest number of pilgrims when compared to other state and this can be attributed to hard work exhibited by the pilgrim board staff,” he added.
On his part, the Overseer, Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Imam Husayn Ikara disclosed that about 560 intending pilgrims who left the Country for Saudi Arabia at around 9:28am had 371 males and 189 females from both Zaria and Giwa Local Government Areas with ten officials.
“The next batch of intending pilgrims will be airlifted when we secure their visas and also have details of the flight that will be made available to convey them to the holy land”, he mentioned”.
The Overseer said, the pilgrims were supposed to have left yesterday but due to some challenges which were resolved, they had to be airlifted this morning.
An intending pilgrim, Ibrahim Shehu Musa who is a first timer, expressed happiness over the trip and also appreciated the pilgrims board’s efforts for being diligent and prompt in its activities.