Intending pilgrims from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been urged to be good ambassadors of Nigeria while in the holy land of Saudi Arabia.
FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello gave this charge while addressing participants of this year’s Hajj exercise from the FCT during last week’s (yesterday’s) farewell ceremony, marking their departure for the annual religious exercise.
The Minister, who was represented by Secretary, Social Development, Oladimeji Ali-Hassan, reminded the intending pilgrims to be grateful to the “almighty Allah for granting them the privilege to fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam”, even as he warned them to “remember to abide strictly by the laws in the holy land of Saudi Arabia.”
Tasking them to pray for the peace, progress and security of Nigeria, including President Muhammadu Buhari while in the holy land, Malam bello urged: “you are ambassadors of the FCT in particular, and Nigeria, at large. I therefore urge you stay away from all acts that will tarnish the image of our country Nigeria.
“Do not forget that we will monitor you and we will not hesitate to sanction anyone found wanting. As you go to the holiest cities in the world, Mecca and Medina, take this assignment as an assignment from Allah.
The Minister also commended all the stakeholders for a hitch-free and successful preparation, expressing hope that the FCT would win more awards of excellence from National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, just as it has received many of such in the past for staging successful Hajj operations, saying “I am sure the FCT Pilgrims Welfare Board (FCTPWB) and other stakeholders are up to the task.”
Director, FCTPWB, Malam Muhammad Bashir who spoke earlier explained that the board recorded a hitch-free preparation due to early release of funds by the FCT Administration, which enable it to carry out necessary requirements by Saudi Arabia. Some of which, according to him, include comprehensive education and orientation, thorough medical screening and immunization of the intending pilgrims.
Malam Bashir also revealed that despite low turnout of intending pilgrims for this year’s exercise, the board was able to register no fewer than 1500 intending pilgrims, representing 70 percent, out of the 2115 allocated to the FCT by the National Hajj Commission.
The Director therefore wished them well and called on the intending pilgrims “to be responsive and avoid reckless spending in the holy land, and also have the fear of Allah.”