The first batch of 420 Lagos pilgrims participating in this year’s holy pilgrimage in Makkah and Madinah have departed for Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to the Press on the inaugural airlift exercise on Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, the State Amir-ul-Hajj, Dr. AbdulLateef AbdulHakeem disclosed that the first set of pilgrims airlifted were drawn from Agege Local Government; Ajeromi-Ifelodun; Alimosho; Amuwo-Odofin and others from the Pilgrims Board.
He said that the 420 pilgrims were the first batch of a total of 2,270 intending pilgrims traveling with the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
While expressing his immeasurable joy that pilgrims from Lagos were the first to be airlifted among the South West States, he mentioned that the flight which departed the airport at 11.00 pm in the night would travel directly to Medinah in order to ensure that the Pilgrims do not go through the stress of traveling by road from Jeddah to Madinah.
Dr. AbdulHakeem added that the remaining Lagos pilgrims would be airlifted back-to-back from Wednesday 10th till Tuesday 16th July when the exercise is scheduled to be concluded.
In his remarks, the Chairman Ad-hoc committee for the 2019 Hajj operation, Alhaji Ahmed Jebe, commended the Board for the success recorded with the inaugural flight, assuring that the welfare of the pilgrims is paramount to the Committee, especially in areas pertaining to accommodation, feeding and health provision.
The pilgrims departed the airport with Airbus A330 operated by Flynas (a Saudi based airline) and were expected to land safely in Madinah on Thursday at 7.00 a.m Saudi Arabian time.