From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
Governor Abubakar Atiku of Kebbi State has bid farewell to the 430 first batch of intending pilgrims from the State to Saudi Arabia.
Speaking during the epoch-making event at Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, Birnin Kebbi, Bagudu urged the intending Pilgrims to pray for peace and an end to the insecurity and other challenges facing the country while in the Holy Land.
He announced that the State Government has made adequate arrangements to ensure the security, welfare, and comfort of the pilgrims, both in Nigeria and in the holy land.
The Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum also urged them to jealously guard their Basic Traveling Allowance ( BTA), as well as all forms of identification while in Saudi Arabia.
He reiterated his call to the intending pilgrims to devout time in praying for themselves, Kebbi State, and Nigeria in general.
According to him, “you should pray for yourselves as well as the urgent restoration of peace and security in all parts of the country.
“Please also pray for the success of President Muhammadu Buhari to continue with the good works he is doing for Nigeria. Please also pray against the recurrence of obnoxious health challenges that stopped the performance of hajj by international pilgrims like COVID-19,” the governor urged.
He also urged the intending Pilgrims to pray for a bumper harvest as the country witnessed the beginning of the rainy season.
The Progressives Governor’s Forum Chairman thanked the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) for accepting to serve as the State Amirul Hajj.
The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN)who is also the State Amirul Hajj, commended the state government for reposing tremendous confidence in them as the State’s Hajj committee.
Malami assured the intending pilgrims that the committee set up by the state government comprised all types of professionals and technocrats to diligently take care of them, both in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
The Minister also appealed to them to guard their BTA and travel documents, especially their international passports.
He also called on the intending pilgrims to desist from taking all prohibited items and illicit drugs, warning,” the punishment for drugs peddling in Saudi Arabia is nothing, but death.”
Malami extolled Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu for the tremendous development the state has recorded particularly in the rice value chain and area of investment.
The Chairman of the Pilgrims Welfare Agency, Alhaji Haruna Maitandu, also lauded Gov. Abubakar Atiku for making all the necessary arrangements for the welfare and comfort of the intending pilgrims both in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
He thanked the governor for providing necessary financial and moral support to the agency in order to ensure the smooth conduct of the exercise.
Malami informed the Governor that all the departing intending Pilgrims have been given their Basic Travelling Allowances, BTA, and other essential documents.
The maiden flight of 430 intending Pilgrims of the state who boarded the Airbus A340 plane comprised those from Bagudo, Jega, and Dandi Local Government Areas.
A total of 2,133 intending Pilgrims from the State are expected to perform this year’s holy pilgrimage to Makka, Saudi Arabia.
Among the important personalities who witnessed the flag-off of the maiden Hajj flight were State Amirul Hajj, Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) , the State Deputy Governor, rtd Col. Samaila Yombe Dabai, former Chief of Staff, Government House, and the National Organising Secretary of APC, Alhaji Suleiman Muhammad Argungu, Jarman Kabi, the Secretary to the State Government, Babale Umar Yauri.
Others were the Chairman of State Pilgrims Welfare Agency, Alhaji Haruna Maitandu, the APC Zonal Vice Chairman, Kebbi North, Alhaji Sahabi Lolo, the Personal Assistant to the Governor, Alhaji Faruk Musa Yaro (Enabo), Commissioners, Special Advisers, and other top Government functionaries.