Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 10 August 2016 | 3,946 times
Airlift of Kaduna State intending pilgrims has finally commenced after several hours of delay.
Explaining the cause of the delay to intending pilgrims, officials of the Kaduna State Pilgrims Welfare Board said it was due to late arrival of Basic Travel Allowance (BTA).
The operations was billed to commence on Tuesday with the first batch of 410 intending pilgrims from Igabi and Zangon Kataf local government areas of the state, at the Hajj Camp in Mando for screening, last Monday.
“Yes, our aircraft was already on ground, but we had a little delay due to late arrival of BTA and we will not want our pilgrims to depart without their BTAs. But everything has been sorted out. The BTA came yesterday (Tuesday) and we have resumed full operation of airlift,” an official confirmed to our reporter.
Flynas Airline’s 440-capacity Airbus 330-300 commenced the airlift with the 410 intending pilgrims.
The Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, had on Tuesday charged intending Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to be worthy ambassadors while in the holy land.
Governor e-Rufai who was represented by his deputy, Arc. Yusuf Bala Barnabas said: “I will like to say congratulations to you all for being a part of the Muslims that will have the privilege alongside other Muslims from all over the world to perform this years’ Hajj. The Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was even reported to have said that, “Hajj is compulsory (on those that are able) at least once in their life time and whoever repeats Hajj, has done a commendable act.” So once again, I say, congratulations. Hajj operations in Nigeria have evolved over the years, with every year springing different surprises and challenges for us to deal with.
“Kaduna State is not immune to these challenges, but I can assure you that the problems associated with Hajj Operations particularly in Kaduna will soon be a thing of the past. We have already put in place so many measures to improve the management of Hajj affairs in the state with a view to strengthening and improving the operations of the State Pilgrims Welfare Board.”
Appealing to the intending pilgrims to be worthy ambassadors, the governor added:
“I will like to use this opportunity to call on you all to respect the rules and regulations while in the Holy Land and be good ambassadors not only for Kaduna State but Nigeria. Please, as you offer prayers for yourselves, remember to pray for Kaduna State and Nigeria, pray that we will continue to live in peace. Pray that Kaduna State and Nigeria will experience progress and development that will last in our generation and for future generations.
“As I flag off the airlift of the first batch of Hajj Pilgrims, I will like to appreciate the entire Kaduna State Hajj officials, for their efforts and dedication towards ensuring a successful Hajj operation. As you all embark on this divine journey, I wish you all a safe trip to and from the Holy Land. Amin.”
In his remarks, Imam Hussaini Ikara, the Overseer, Kaduna Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, said the second batch of 500 intending pilgrims will come from Soba and Ikara LGAs that will be airlifted by MaxAir to Madina in Saudi Arabia.
He said a total of 5,649 intending pilgrims from Kaduna are expected to perform the 2016 Hajj exercise.
“We are optimistic that Kaduna State pilgrims will continue to be law abiding citizens during the Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
•Photo by Garba Muhammad shows the first batch of Kaduna pilgrims to Mecca boarding their flight today at Mando.
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