The Executive secretary of Plateau State Muslim Pilgrims Board, Barr Awwal Abdullahi who also doubled as the Secretary of Forum of States Pilgrims Boards’ Chief Executive Officers has attributed the relative success achieved in this year’s Hajj to the continuous support and leadership direction given to the board by the Executive Governor of the State, His Excellency Gov. Simon Lalong.
Speaking to HAJJ REPORTERS in Makkah, Barr Awwal Abdullahi said “ all the successes recorded at the Pilgrims Welfare Board in Plateau State, have to do with the government support. If not for the government’s support, there wouldn’t be any leeway in the Hajj operation”.
“I will like to appreciate and pray for the dynamic administration of Barrister Simon Lalong, the Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of Northern Governor’s Forum for the unrelenting support he has been rendering to Plateau state. It is out of his magnanimity that we were able to make it to this year’s Hajj”.
Asked whether the all registered pilgrims from the state were successfully airlifted to Saudi Arabia for Hajj, Barr Awwal said the airlift challenges that left some pilgrims at home affected Plateau state as well.
“Plateau State is also affected by this because we were given allocation of 828 pilgrims, but were able to airlift only 647, leaving about 130 on ground. Out of this 130, 97 of them have their visas at hand. They were even given boarding passes because they had to ferry us from Bauchi to Kano. We spent about five days trying to come for this Hajj.
“In the second plane, I was the only person that was able to make it. All my officials, including my Amirul Hajj and the board’s Chairman were left behind after going through a very rigorous and horrible situation. We slept at the airport – firstly at Hajj camp in Bauchi then secondly at the airport. And then, going through the rudiments of screening and even the boarding pass was given, but unfortunately the aircraft (Max Air) left over 100 pilgrims behind. It was very unfortunate”.
However, Barr Awwal lauded the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), as well as Saudi authorities, particularly the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for providing all needed facilities for the comfort of pilgrims.
“If not for some other misgivings, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has also done very well. However, there are some hitches that we need to go back to the drawing board to see what we can do to forge ahead in sha Allah,” he said.
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