Lagos completes airlifting of 3,655 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has said that the pilgrimage from Nigeria to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will start on May

Lagos completes airlifting of 3,655 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

Lagos State Government has successfully completed the airlifting of 3,655 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2023 Hajj exercise.

The Head of the State Hajj team, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, who made this known, noted that the successes recorded so far would not have been possible without His grace and mercy

The safe arrival of the eleventh and last batch of 171 intending pilgrims which landed at the King AbdulAzeez International Airport, Madinah, on Wednesday, at exactly 7.45pm Saudi Arabian time, brought the first leg of the operation to conclusion.

The last batch consisting of 130 males and 41 females which included paid intending pilgrims and State Government officials, departed the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria, aboard a Flynas airline flight XY5627 at 11.05 am Nigerian time.

With the arrival of the eleventh batch, the total number of pilgrims airlifted by the State is now 3,655. The first batch was 390, second 428; third 50; fourth 253; fifth 426 while the sixth flight had 417.

Also, the seventh flight were 415 intending pilgrims; eight 375; ninth 356; tenth 181 and the eleventh 171. In summary, the State has 2,023 female pilgrims, 55.3 per cent, and 1,632 males, 44.7 per cent, respectively in her contingent.

Expressing satisfaction with the conclusion of airlift, Elegushi said, “All praises and adorations are due to Almighty Allah for guiding the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board from inception to the conclusion of the exercise”, stressing that the successes recorded so far would not have been possible without His grace and mercy.

He also thanked the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat for their uncompromiding support towards the Board and the pilgrims which had greatly aided the successes recorded with the exercise.

The Head of Hajj team, called on the pilgrims to comply with all the laid-down rules and regulations guiding their stay in the Holy Land, not to be distracted from the major purpose of embarking on the journey, adding they should avoid all unlawful dealings and conduct themselves in a civilized manner in order not to tarnish the enviable image of the State and Nigeria at large.

While reiterating that the State had done everything humanly possible towards ensuring that the pilgrims enjoy maximum comfort throughout their stay in the Kingdom, the former Commissioner for Home Affairs, reassured that the return journey back to Nigerian after the completion of the Hajj rites would be seamless and rancour-free.

The Board Chairman, Imam Shakiru Ayinde Gafar enjoined the pilgrims to take advantage of the enlightenment given them by the Board in the course of the operation and perform the Hajj rites in line with the teachings of the holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW) so that their pilgrimage could be accepted by Allah as act of Ibaadah.

He equally charged them them to guard the opportunity of being called to perform the Hajj jealousy, noting many who are financially and medically fit are seeking such privilege but Allah has not given them despite the fact that they can afford it.

Also speaking, the Secretary of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Saheed Onipede expressed gratitude to the support and cooperations of the South West Zonal coordinator of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria Alh. Gafar Odunola and his team.

He also lauded the Flynas airline for the excellent services it had rendered to the state pilgrims just as he appreciated the Senior Station Manager, Flynas Lagos South West zone, Mr. Shadrach Swante Kambai for his exceptional conducts and commitments.

“Mr. Shadrach has been very consistent in his commitment to quality service delivery by ensuring that flights are brought from Saudi Arabia to convey the pilgrims promptly”, he said.

Prominent among those aboard the flight include Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Lateef Alogba; former Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic matters, Alh. Ahmad Abdullahi Jebe; Hon. AbdulWaheed Shonibare (Board member); Alh. Mojeed Sanni (Board member), to mention just but few.

The state Government commenced the airlifting exercise on June 1. Thus, with the arrival of the eleventh and final batch, It has been able to complete the exercise successfully and would begin the return journey after the completion of the Hajj rites.