The first set of 546 intending Muslim pilgrims who were airlifted from the Maiduguri International Airport in Borno State has landed safely in Saudi Arabia.
It was gathered that all pilgrims on the first batch were hale and hearty and were in high spirit to undertake the highly spiritual exercise.
This would be the first time since 2019 that Hajj operations would take place having been halted for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking during the inauguration of the exercise, President Muhammadu Buhari charged the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Nigeria in the holy land and conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
He said, “Hajj being an act of worship also entails hardship which also requires patience and great sacrifice, self-restraint and discipline. I, therefore, call upon you to obey all the COVID-19 protocols as they are meant to protect you and other citizens throughout your stay in the holy land.”
Represented by Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, the President appealed to the intending pilgrims to pray for the restoration of peace and stability in the country.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikirullahi Kunle Hassan disclosed that a total of 43,000 intending pilgrims from across the country would participate this year from Nigeria.