The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde has assured that intending pilgrims from the State would be airlifted from the Ibadan Airport, Alakia, to the Holy Land, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Governor Makinde gave the assurance at the Hajj Camp, Iwo-Road, Olodo, Ibadan, during the ceremony held for the 2019 intending pilgrims to the Holy Land, ahead of their departure.
He noted that the move is to help reduce the burden and stress of pilgrims travelling to and from the State to the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos before boarding a plane for the journey.
The Governor also advised the intending pilgrims to be “good ambassadors” of the State and Nigeria and “beware of offences which carry the death penalty”.
“You should shun illicit and prohibited items like drugs and ‘kolanuts’ because if any of these are found in your possession, it is an offence which carries the death penalty. I also want to admonish you to be good ambassadors and showcase our Pacesetter appellation in acts and in deeds,” he said.
He enjoined the intending pilgrims to beseech the Almighty Allah on behalf of Oyo State and Nigeria, on the numerous problems confronting the nation.
Governor Makinde promised that his administration would complete the abandoned administrative complex project located at the Oyo State Pilgrims’ Hajj Camp.
Makinde declared that, “The Oyo State Pilgrims’ Welfare Board was established in 1976 as the first organised Pilgrims’ Welfare Board in Nigeria. This Hajj Camp was commissioned in 1990, while the abandoned administrative staff block was awarded in November 2010 but has not been completed after almost nine years. Let me assure you that we will complete this project “.
‘Well taken care’
While receiving the Governor, the Chairman, Oyo State Pilgrims’ Welfare Board (Muslim Wing), Professor Sayed Ayantunde Malik, disclosed that 900 intending pilgrims would participate in the 2019 pilgrim operation from the State.
He pledged that the Pilgrims’ Board would do its best in ensuring the Oyo State pilgrims were well taken care of in the Saudi Arabia.
Malik, however, commended the Passport Control Officer, Abdulkadir Sule Garo, who left no stone unturned in ensuring that all the 2019 Oyo State intending pilgrims received their international passports before Monday, July 15, 2019.
The Aare Musulumi of Yoruba land, Edo and Delta, Dawud Akinola, who is to lead the Oyo State delegation to this year’s Hajj, assured of an open-door policy for all pilgrims throughout their stay in Saudi Arabia.
Present at the ceremony were the wife of Oyo Governor, Mrs Omini Makinde; wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Bose Olaniyan; Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheik Abdulganiy Abubakri; Head, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, Professor Kamil Oloso and the South West Commissioner of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Sheik Adeyemi Fuad, among others dignitaries.