Facing The Ka'aba

May 17, 2024

2024 pilgrimage: Lagos commences airlift of 1,862 for hajj

Nigerian pilgrim dies in Hajj

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Government said plans have been concluded to airlift 1,862 intending pilgrims for the 2024 hajj, even as it assured that Israel is safe for 2024 pilgrimage.

The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ibrahim Layode stated this in Alausa, Ikeja, during the 2024 ministerial press briefing to mark the first year of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s second term in office.

Layode said that a total number of 3,655 Muslim pilgrims went on hajj in 2023.

He added that efforts were ongoing to resume in 2024 Christian pilgrimage that was stopped due to the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

According to him, “While in the Holy Land during the Christian pilgrimage, the Israel-Hamas war broke out, thus the second batch of the Christian pilgrims were not able to make the trip.

“To the glory of God, the whole 310 pilgrims returned home safe and sound, no death or absconded.”

On the hajj 2024, he said the first batch of intending pilgrims will be airlifted from Friday, May 17, with assurance of proper arrangement that would make the exercise less stressful to all.

Layode added that the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board had partnered with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to ensure that the intending pilgrims experience timely information on their departure dates to avoid keeping them in camp for too long.

On efforts to ensure religious harmony, Layode said the ministry had organised regular meetings with Christian and Muslim leaders to resolve sensitive issues at a round table with understanding from both parties.

Responding to question by one of the journalists, Layode said that the part of the Anglican Church Okepopo on Lagos Island demolished was done in agreement with the church leadership for the good of the community.

Giving the achievements of the ministry in the year under review, Layode said that during the Easter and Ramadan period, the state government on March 29, 2024, organised Combined Special Prayers for Nigeria and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The commissioner noted that during the period of the Ramadan fast, over 50,000 food packs and drinks were distributed to public servants in all MDAs across the state to break their fast.

Layode said that during the Lent/Easter celebration, which is an anticipated spiritual event when Christians fast, pray and engage in acts of self-discipline and purification, the ministry facilitated the distribution of gift items and over 50,000 food packs as means of showing kindness (palliatives) to the teeming fasting Christians across MDAs in the state.

He commended Sanwo-Olu for also extending the gesture of distributing gift items to religious leaders in the state to celebrate the Easter festival.

Speaking on the International “Tolerance Day,” which is celebrated annually on the 16th November as declared by the United Nations, Layode said that due to the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos, the state adopted the day to promote religious tolerance and develop the accommodative mindset of individuals.