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2024 hajj: 1st batch of 423 pilgrims depart

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Vice President Kashim Shettima has flagged off the inaugural flight for this year’s hajj at Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport (SABIA), Birnin Kebbi (SABIA) to Madina International Airport, Jedda with 423 pilgrims and hajj officials from Jega and Arewa local government areas of Kebbi State.

While flagging off the flight, Shetima said despite the economic constraints the country had gone through because of the downward dive of the naira, President Bola Tinubu had graciously provided N90 billion to subsidise this year’s hajj.

He urged the pilgrims to reciprocate the good gesture while in the holy land, pray for their political, religious, and community leaders, and end Nigeria’s current security challenges.

Shettima also advised the pilgrims to conduct themselves according to Saudi authorities and commended Governor Nasir Idris for providing the support that made the take-off of the inaugural flight a success.

In his remarks, Governor Idris recalled that the pilgrims were flown to Saudi Arabia last year from Sokoto due to some contentious issues at the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, Birnin Kebbi, revealing that he had tackled them, hence the state pilgrims were the first to be airlifted from the airport.

He directed political officeholders and local government administrators to provide financial assistance to pilgrims from their constituencies in the holy land to carry out hajj rites comfortably.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, described the Hajj as a spiritual voyage aimed at cleansing the souls of the worshippers and urged the pilgrims not to carry illicit substances and luggage that would deter them from attaining the purpose of the pilgrimage.

The chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Jalal Ahmad Arabi, said the agency had secured the best accommodation in Madina for the comfort of the pilgrims besides making beneficial bilateral arrangements between Saudi authorities and the commission for their welfare.

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