Lagos inaugurates board members
The Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi has inaugurated the chairman and members of the Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.
The event which took place during an inaugural meeting in the Conference Room of the Ministry, at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, was attended by all the newly appointed Board members.
Members of the new Board are Engr. Shakir Ayinde Gafar (Chairman); Dr. Fausat Dabiri (Lagos division); Alhaji Yusuf Ara (Epe division); Dr. Abdul Kabir Paramole (Badagry division); Hon. Lolade Shonibare (Ikeja division) and Alhaji Mojeed Sanni (Ikorodu division), while Imam AbdulHakeem Kosoko is the Board Secretary.
Elegushi who noted that the inaugural meeting signifies the commencement of their assignment, urged the board not to disappoint Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu for having absolute confidence in their ability to discharge their duties creditably and diligently in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of his administration.
While stating that the main objective of the board, as enacted by Lagos State House of Assembly Law 2013 (Chapter L.14) as amended, is “to ensure effective and efficient pilgrimage operation for Muslims in Lagos State”, the Commissioner urged members to appreciate the fact that Hajj operation is a very tedious, time consuming, energy sapping and thankless one at that. He appealed that all hands must be on deck to fulfill the objective of the enactment by working selflessly to satisfy the State Government and the intending pilgrims during the operation both onshore (Nigeria) and offshore (Saudi Arabia).
He informed them that Lagos has a backlog of over 3,000 intending pilgrims who have fully paid the N1, 300.000.00 Hajj fee but were unable to perform the spiritual exercise since year 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Elegushi stressed that the affected 2020/2021 intending pilgrims who left their hard-earned money in the custody of the State because of the trust and confidence they have in the government deserved to be treated fairly.
He said, “as we look forward to Allah (SWT) to make the Hajj exercise a reality this year, we cannot afford to let down or abuse the confidence these intending pilgrims reposed in the state by denying them their right on the principle of first come, first served”.
Elegushi who emphasised that Hajj operation is effectively and efficiently carried out through sub-committees, later announced the committees to include; Finance and General Purpose, Transport, Welfare, Dawah, Medical and Medina, Muna and Arafah sub-committees.
Others are Passport and Airlifting, Security and Luggage, Media and Publicity, Accommodation as well as Manifest sub-committees.
In his reaction, the Board Chairman, Engr. Shakir Ayinde Gafar promised to bring forth his wealth of experience to bear on the vision and mission of the Board.
Describing the assignment given to them as ‘colosal’, he said that the Board shall hit the ground running by working assiduously around the readily available human and material resources and search for all the latest facts and figures that will make it achieve a resounding success on Umrah and Hajj operations.
While appreciating the governor and his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat for finding them worthy of the appointment out of many equally qualified individuals out there, Engr. Gafar prayed that Allah perpetuates His mercy on Mr. Governor, his deputy and the Hon. Commissioner, promising not to let them down.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Oluseyi Sewedo Whenu, affirmed that the state followed due process in the selection of the members.
While wishing them a fruitful and successful tenure, he urged them to cooperate with one another in the discharge of their duties and limit themselves within the ambit of the law that established the Board.
It would be recalled that the Sanwo-Olu approved the appointment of the new Board with effect from January 1, 2022 for a renewable period of three years.