By Haroon-Ishola Balogun
No fewer than 428 Lagos State intending pilgrims who were airlifted by Flynas, a Saudi Arabian based airline have arrived Madinah, Saudi Arabia, for the 2023 holy pilgrimage exercise.
On board the airline with number XY 5680 which took off from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja at 5.21pm on Thursday, are 286 males and 242 females.
Another set of 53 of the pilgrims were airlifted alongside Oyo, Osun and Ogun States intending pilgrims Thursday night.
The departure of the second and third flights has therefore brought the total number of Lagos State intending pilgrims already airlifted to the Kingdom to 871 so far.
The officer in charge of the Nigeria Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Chief Superintendents of Narcotics, Alh. Isiaku Mohammed Salau told reporters that in fulfilling its mandate, the agency ensured that all the intending pilgrims traveling through the airport are thoroughly screened with a view to to ensuring that non of them leaves the country with illicit drugs and other prohibited items.
He cautioned others yet to be airlifted to avoid taking along prohibited items such as Tramadol, cola nut, heroine, etc. while embarking on the spiritual journey, saying if they are caught whether in Nigeria or at Saudi Arabia, they would be punished in accordance with the laws.
At the airport to bid them good bye are the immediate past Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi; Board Chairman, Imam (Engr.) Shakiru Ayinde Gafar; Alh. Mojeed Sanni and Hon. Waheed Shonibare, both Board members.
Also at the airport are Alhaja Basirat Akintunde, South West Commissioner, NAHCON; Alh. Gafar Odunola Babatunde, South West Zonal coordinator and other officials of Lagos and federal government agencies.