Flights for the Hajj 2016 have begun.
Five hundred muslims from the Nigerian state of Zamfara boarded the inaugural flight from Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto to Saudi Arabia today.
The pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina is one of the five cardinal principles of Islam.
President Muhammadu Buhari at the ceremony marking the inaugural flight restated the commitment of the federal government to make Nigeria a better place for all.
” We are fully committed to introducing policies and programmes to better the lives of all Nigerians, including generations yet unborn,” he said in a speech read by Governor Aminu Tambuwal.
Buhari further charged the officials of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria( NAHCON), to accord top priority attention to the welfare and consular services of the pilgrims.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, appealed to the pilgrims to pray fervently for Buhari, to enable him to successfully steer the ship of the country.
Abubakar also called for such prayers for the reduction of hardship being faced by Nigerians, as well as ensuring sustainable peace and unity of Nigeria.
The Zamfara Governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, commended NAHCON for choosing his state for conduct of 2016 inaugural flight
Airlift of pilgrims from Lagos State would begin on 16 August.
The state’s Amir Hajj and Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr AbdulHakeem AbdulLateef said the state government would achieve a hitch-free airlifting of all the state’s pilgrims within the designated three days by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria(NAHCON).
He advised the pilgrims to avoid taking with them all items prohibited and banned by the Saudi Arabian Government.
He also warned that the state government would not tolerate any act of lawlessness and disobedience that might tarnish the image of the state and the country in general.
AbdulLateef charged them to be good representatives of the state and the country at large, be patient with their assigned coordinators and pilgrim officials to ensure a hitch-free hajj operation.
“No one is perfect; these representatives are human beings and could make mistakes sometimes, please bear with them and forgive them, only Allah is perfect”.
He said that intending pilgrims would be notified of their departure dates by their coordinators through text messages.