- FCT holds enlightenment programme
Olawale Ajimotokan in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The number of pilgrims admitted into Saudi Arabia from all over the world for this year’s hajj has been put at 1,838,339.
The Director General of the Directorate of passport, Brigadier Gen. Abdulazeez, gave this number Wednesday while addressing a press conference in Jeddah for the end of phase 1 of the Hajj pilgrimage for 2019.
However, the number of pilgrims known to have arrived is low in comparison to the 2.37 million visitors that congregated in Saudi Arabia for the exercise in 2018.
Many of the pilgrims who arrived the country came via air, land and sea borders.
Abdulazeez, however, said the breakdown of the countries where the pilgrims came from could not be readily made available.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has put the number of Nigerian pilgrims presently admitted into the country and due to observe the hajj exercise at 65, 000.
The commission’s Head of Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, said 44, 450 pilgrims were airlifted through the State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards while 20, 500 pilgrims came in through the private tour operators.
In the past four days, pilgrims of diverse nationalities have virtually locked down Mecca, where one of Islamic two holiest mosques is sited in preparation for the climax of the Hajj , when worshippers will congregate at Mount Arafat on Saturday.
To cope with the pressure, Saudi authorities have cancelled all non-essential movements particularly on the Mecca to Jeddah road.
Also almost all Nigerian pilgrims have been moved to Mecca, with the few remaining due to arrive the city on Thursday morning or later in the day.
The movement of pilgrims, from Mecca to Muna, will begin from the midnight of Thursday, while movement to Arafat from Muna is also billed to start midnight of Friday.
Meanwhile the FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has held enlightenment programme for the pilgrims from the Territory on how to observe the hajj rites that will see worshippers converge in Muna, Arafat, Muzdalifah, Jamarat and Mecca over six days beginning from August 10.
The scholars led by Nura Khalid, the Chief Imam of Legislative Quarters, Sheik Tajudeen Bello and Taminu Yusuf, both of Wuse Zone 3 Mosque,.advised the pilgrims to make proper preparations for the hajj rites, adding the lessons from the rituals should impact in changes in their lives.