From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
The First batch of 546 intending pilgrims from Zamfara state were airlifted to Saudi Arabia through Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto precisely by 1.00 am yesterday, while the second batch of another 530 were also lifted same day at 2.00pm.
The development was announced Saturday, by the state deputy governor, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala, who doubles as the state’s Amirul-Hajj for this year, during a farewell address to the departing pilgrims from the piloting Bukkuyum and Bungudu local government areas by Governor Abdulaziz Yari.
The deputy governor also disclosed that, as at last Saturday, a total of 3,033 visas for the pilgrims were already at hand, while the remaining balance would be secured before the evacuation of the pilgrims.
Governor Yari informed the pilgrims that the delay for the start of the airlift was not deliberate, but was caused by the Saudi authority in taking precautions for safety of the Hajj exercise against the killer Ebola disease.
He urged the intending pilgrims to behave as good ambassadors of the state in particular and the country in general, soliciting them to intensify prayers for the restoration of peace and security of the nation throughout their holy pilgrimage while in the holy land.