By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The airlift of intending pilgrims from the Federal Capital Territory for this year’s hajj is to commence on July 19.
The Director of the FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Malam Muhammad Bashir, disclosed this at a meeting with officials selected to participate in the operation at the permanent hajj transit camp, Bassan Jiwa, near the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Bashir said that intending pilgrims from the territory would be departing the country to Madinah, Saudi Arabia aboard Flynas airline which is the official carrier assigned to the territory by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for this year.
He disclosed that the board had already secured and printed visas of over 90 per cent of the intending pilgrims and completed all necessary arrangements to airlift the pilgrims.
The director advised intending pilgrims to cross check their flight schedule with their respective area officers or the board premises to know their actual flight and warned against missing of flight by any of the intending pilgrims as those who missed their flight would have themselves to blame.
He stated that the Board has mapped out strategy to ensure the security of its intending pilgrims and other intending pilgrims within the zone during their camping exercise this year.
Bashir called on the officials to take the welfare of the intending pilgrims with paramount importance and ensure that the operation is hitch-free.
He reassured the readiness of the Administration to provide an enabling environment for the officials to carry out their assignments in Nigeria and in the holy land and called for the cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure a smooth exercise.
He called on the officials to work hard to improve from previous experiences to record more successes in this year’s hajj operation.
About 2000 intending pilgrims from the FCT are expected to perform the hajj through the Board this year.
Bashir attributed the increase in the number of the pilgrims to the reduction on hajj fares by all stakeholders on hajj affairs as well as the awards of excellence by NAHCON to the FCT as the best state pilgrims’ welfare board for two consecutive years.
About 1,500 pilgrims from the Territory performed the hajj, one the five pillars of Islam last year.