By; SULAIMAN AHMED MISAU, Katsina
President Muhammadu Buhari has officially flagged-off the 2019 Hajj Airlift to Saudi Arabia in Katsina State with 529 intending Pilgrims on board of Max Air.
The first flight consisted pilgrims from Dutsinma, Mani and Kurfi local government areas with officials of the State Pilgrims Welfare Board.
The flag – off ceremony took place at Umaru Musa International Airport, Katsina.
In his inaugural speech, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to collaborate with foreign mission of Saudi Arabia and their relevant agencies to ensure good welfare of Nigerian Pilgrims at the Holy Land.
President Muhammadu Buhari assured that the Federal Government would continue to discharged its responsibilities of providing security, counseling, medical and other necessary support to Nigerian Pilgrims.
Represented by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, President Buhari warned that the present administration would not condone laxity or high handedness from any official responsible for the general welfare of Pilgrims.
The President who urged the intending pilgrims to make best uses of the Hajj exercise in improving their relationship with their creator enjoined them to pray for peace and stability in the country.
Also in his farewell addresss Governor Aminu Bello Masari blamed those going to the holy land on official seats and few other elites for inciting pilgrims despite all welfare packages provided by the state government.
He enjoined the intending pilgrims not to allow such individuals to mislead them and pay more attention to the Hajj rites.
Governor Aminu Masari said the state government had made adequate provision with surplus contingency funds to carter for emergencies particularly for pilgrims who genuinely lost their Basic Travelling Allowances (BTA).
Speaking earlier, Chairman National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Barrister Abdullahi Mohammed lauded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for successfully accommodating over three million Pilgrims performing Hajj annually from across the globe.
He observed that, “Saudi Authorities had make hajj process almost 100% computer base.this reduced problems and facilitate smooth process of document and activities in managing pilgrims”. he warned the Pilgrims to adhere to Saudi regulations and ensure judicious use of their BTA. He disclosed that,Lagos State would be the next to launching the airlift operation after Katsina.
Also speaking the Consul General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Nigeria Yusuf El-Gamade warned intending pilgrims against smuggling any prohibited items into the holy land.
Yusuf El-Gamade said Saudi Authorities would not take it lightly with any pilgrims found guilty of smuggling prohibited items.
Important Personalities at the Flag-off Ceremony includes:- Emirs of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouk Umar, Chairman Chief Executive Max Air Alhaji Dahiru Bara’u Mangal, Deputy Governors of Katsina, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu and Jigawa States, Alhaji Umar Namadi as well as representatives of Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives amongst others.