By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Friday hinted that pilgrims from Oyo state and other neighbouring states are to be airlifted to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem from Ibadan Airport.
The governor dropped the hint in Ibadan while addressing the 2018 Hajj pilgrims from the state before their departure to the holy land, at the Hajj Camp, Ibadan, on Friday.
According to the governor, towards ensuring this, all the needed efforts are been made by the Oyo state government and other stakeholders at ensuring that the planned direct airlifting of pilgrims materialize.
“I should also inform you that we are making frantic efforts to ensure that our pilgrims are airlifted to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem from Ibadan Airport, starting from next year. Pilgrims from neighbouring states will also benefit from the arrangement.” he said.
The governor however asked the intending pilgrims to be prayerful and maintain self-discipline during the hajj exercise shun any act that could tarnish the image of the state while in the holy land, but to rather concentrate on things that would enhance the fulfilment of their religious obligations.
“This is the last time I will be attending the farewell programme for hajj pilgrims as governor. I’m proud to say that the pilgrims from Oyo State have exhibited high level of discipline You must be good ambassadors and role models. You must shun acts of immorality that are capable of tarnishing the image of the state. Let them, through you and your conduct, see that we are good and disciplined people in Oyo State”
He added that the pilgrims “must also have the spirit of forgiveness. Hold on to God, make the Quran your best friend and remember to pray for the state and the country in general.”
Assuring the pilgrims of good welfare package during the exercise, the governor declared that conveyed the state contingent to the holy land last year had promised to improve on its services this year.
Speaking, the Chairman, Oyo State Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Taofeek Akewugbagold, disclosed that although the state was allotted 955 slots, 1,000 pilgrims would be going for the exercise and the first batch of pilgrims would be airlifted to the holy land on August 4, 2018.
“We are grateful to the governor for giving the board the opportunity to provide the best welfare for our people. Oyo State was given 955 slots but we have 1,000 pilgrims going to hajj from Oyo State. Even many states from northern Nigeria have less number. It is an indication that the state indeed takes good care of its pilgrims.”