By Ifeanyi Nwoko
President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki along with Presidents and heads of parliaments of other nations met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia at an annual reception in Jeddah.
Saudi’s leading English daily newspaper “Arab News” reported that the annual reception held at Mina Palace for heads of state, Islamic dignitaries, guests of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, guests of government bodies and heads of delegations and pilgrim affairs offices who performed Hajj rituals in 2017.
At the outset of the reception, King Salman shook hands with Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir; Gambia’s President Adama Barrow; Comoros President Osman Ghazali; Yemen’s Vice President Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmr; Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail; Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam; Princes Hashem and Hamzah bin Al-Hussein of Jordan; Iraq’s Representative Council Speaker Salim Al-Jubouri; Jordan’s House of Representatives Speaker Atef Tarawneh.
The King also exchanged handshake and pleasantries with President of the Nigerian Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki; Niger’s National Assembly President Ousseini Tinni; Mauritius Vice Prime Minister Showkutally Soodhun; Bangladesh’s former President Hussain Mohammed Ershad among others.
Other countries who had representatives at the meeting include: Russia, Afghanistan, Comoros, Lebanon, and senior officials from a number of Islamic countries.
King Salman congratulated the guests while praying to Allah Almighty to accept pilgrims’ Hajj and prayers, praising Him that pilgrims perform their Hajj rituals in tranquility, security and ease.
He said that the Holy Land was determined more than ever before to provide best services during hajj to increase the facilitation of Hajj performance and the safety of the visitors of the Grand Holy Mosque and the Prophet’s Holy Mosque.
“We are completing in our works the gigantic efforts exerted by the kings of this blessed country since the era of its founder late King Abdul Aziz (May Allah bestow mercy upon his soul),” he added.
“The arms of terrorism have sought to harm the holy sites without any consideration to their sanctities. However, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — with Allah’s help and in cooperation with the Kingdom’s brothers and friends — have achieved great successes in eradicating terrorism and drying up its sources firmly and persistently.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents the heart of the Muslim world. Therefore, it senses the hopes and pains of Muslims everywhere, strives to achieve unity, cooperation and solidarity in our Muslim world, and achieves security and peace in the whole world.
“I pray to Allah Almighty to help our brothers the pilgrims of the Grand Holy Mosque to complete Hajj rituals and return home safely.
“I wish that you are well every year. May Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.” He said.
Minister of Islamic Affairs and Traditional Education of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Ahmed Ould Ahl Dawood who delivered a speech on behalf of the guests congratulated King Salman and the crown prince on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha and the great facilities and services being provided to the pilgrims.