A total of 500 pilgrims from the 2, 497 intending pilgrims of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) contingents for the 2014 hajj exercise have left to the Holy land through Saudi Airline.
The pilgrims left at early hours of today at about 1 am Nigerian time and are expected to touch down in Medina, Saudi Arabia at about 7 am.
Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, who bade the pilgrims farewell yesterday at the FCT permanent hajj camp, in Bassan Jiwa, urged the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Nigeria as they embarked on the spiritual exercise.
“You should reflect Nigeria’s devotion to God by being disciplined, timely and dedicated to this spiritual exercise. Let people who come in contact with you be able to see your good conduct and respect our country,” she said.
She called on the pilgrims to offer prayers for the peace, prosperity and progress of our beloved country adding that, “Nigeria is passing through some challenges ranging from insecurity to the Ebola epidemic.
She therefore urged the officials to consider their assignment as duty to God as they discharge their duty to the pilgrims.
According to the minister, the FCT Administration had evolved strategies which include orientation programme, medical screening and effective pre and post hajj logistics among others to ensure a hitch free operation.
“We have also harnessed lessons learnt in our previous operations in order to remove all obstacles to the processes this year and in the future.
“We are committed to doing everything necessary to ensure that the FCT contingent gets the best services possible in this year’s operations comparable to other participants from across the world,” Akinjide added.
The minister therefore enjoined all intending pilgrims to reciprocate government’s efforts by being good ambassadors of Nigeria.
Earlier, Director, FCT Muslim Welfare Board, Mallam Bashir Muhammed, noted that in order to ensure a hitch-free and successful hajj operation, series of activities were carried out by the Board to the benefits of participating pilgrims.
This, he said include sensitisation and orientation exercise, pregnancy test, as well as immunisation exercise in line with Saudi Arabia authorities.
He called on the intending pilgrims to be law abiding, respect all policies, and to strictly abide by the transport, feeding arrangements, luggage policy and flight arrangement.