By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
A TOTAL of 43,000 Nigerian intending pilgrims have been inaugurated for airlift to Saudi Arabia for the 2022 Hajj exercise. Recall that the exercise has not been conducted in the last two years following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
Inaugurating the maiden flight at the International Airport, Maiduguri, President Muhammadu Buhari said: “I am indeed greatful to Almighty Allah to flag-off the maiden flight of the 2022 Hajj exercise here in Maiduguri.” Represented by the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, the president said that due to COVID-19 pandemic, the exercise was banned in 2020, while in 2021, the exercise was restricted to Saudi citizens only. He thanked God that with the decrease of the spread of the pandemic, Nigerians are witnessing the maiden flight for this year’s Hajj exercise here in Borno State.
President Buhari said that Nigeria was facing a lot of challenges and urged the intending pilgrims to pray for Nigeria to overcome the security challenges and for successful transition of power come 2023. The President urged the intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the nation by shunning any activities that will tarnish the image of the country. Earlier, the Borno State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, who is also the Chairman of the 2022 Borno Hajj Committee said: “A total of 546 pilgrims from Borno State are to be airlifted today (Thursday) in Maiduguri during the inaugural flight.”