Hajj 2022: Fourth batch of Lagos pilgrims arrive from Saudi Arabia
Second batch of Oyo pilgrims arrives in Nigeria
No fewer than 345 Lagos State pilgrims that participated in the just concluded 2022 Hajj exercise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have returned home.
The Lagos pilgrims, who arrived on board a Flynas Airline, with flight number XY7044, landed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, at 2.05am Nigerian time, on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
While speaking with the media on arrival, the State Amir-Ul-Hajj and Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, expressed his gratitude to Allah for preserving the lives of every pilgrim and granting them the wherewithal to actively perform all the essential rites of the spiritual exercise.
The commissioner, who spoke through the Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic Matters, Alh. Ahmad Abdullahi Jebe, also appreciated Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, for the steadfastness and support they rendered to the pilgrims while in the holy land.
He said that the administration ensured that the welfare and comfort of the pilgrims was given utmost priority in the area of accommodation, feeding, Ihram clothes, transportation and others throughout the exercise.
He also appreciated the pilgrims for their tolerance, understanding and cooperation with government officials, stressing that their exemplary conducts have further elevated the enviable status of the state as the number one in hajj operations among the states in Nigeria.
Elegushi, who described the 2022 hajj as very remarkable, noted that every exercise usually comes with its challenges and peculiarities. He, however, expressed optimism that the next year’s exercise would be much better than this.
On his part, the Board Chairman, Imam Shakiru Ayinde Gafar, said that the Saudi Arabian authority has shown signs of its preparedness to lift all the restrictions placed on this year’s hajj, going forward.
He added that in realisation of this fact, the state would work assiduously towards improving its operations to secure befitting accommodation for about 3,000 to 4,000 intending pilgrims expected to perform the spiritual exercise through the state next year.
The chairman also pointed out that there is need for improvement in the area of feeding. He noted that the Saudi Arabian authority did not accord Nigerian caterers the right to prepare local delicacies for the pilgrims.
He, however, stressed that the attention of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) had been drawn to this challenge and steps would be taken to allow the inclusion of indigenous caterers.
Some of the pilgrims, who spoke to the media, expressed their gratitude to Allah, the state government and its officials for providing them the enabling environment and comfort throughout their stay in the Kingdom.
The arrival of the fourth batch of 345 has, thus, increased the number of the state’s pilgrims so far brought back home to 1,617 while the few remaining pilgrims, who are mostly officials of the State Government, are expected back in the country soon.
Other board members on the flight include, Alh. Mojeed Sanni (Ikorodu Division); Alhaji Yusuf Ara (Epe Division); Hon. AbdulWaheed Lolade Shonibare (Ikeja Division) as well as some sub-committee members.
Also, the second batch of Oyo State Pilgrims from the Holy land of Saudi Arabia has arrived in Lagos.
A statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, from Saudi Arabia indicated this on.
Olatunbosun disclosed that a flight carrying the 81 pilgrims, touched down at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, at exactly 2:04 a.m on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
Their return came six days after the arrival of the first batch of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia.
The 81 pilgrims left their hotels in Medina for the airport at 10 a.m Nigerian time on Tuesday.
Recall that the second batch of pilgrims from the Pacesetter State left Ibadan on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 for Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, from where they were airlifted to the holy lands.
He added that there are 250 pilgrims from Oyo awaiting airlift to Nigeria in Saudi Arabia.