Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board
Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board has begun preparations for the 2022 pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Rome for intending pilgrims.
Alhaji Umar Maku-Lapai, the Executive Secretary of Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board said this while presenting two awards to the board on Monday in Minna.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the awards were presented by Independent Hajj Reporters Abuja and Crusaders Radio Minna to the Executive Secretary of the Commission.
NAN also reports that the awards were for being the most disciplined Hajj Commission and as the best Executive Secretary.
Makun-Lapai said that sensitisation was necessary for prospective pilgrims, to create awareness on dos and dont’s, saying that abscondment was a crime and abuse of right.
“Abscondment is a crime, whether in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem or in Rome, as pilgrims we are expected to be good ambassadors of our country that we represent either in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia or in Israel.
“I am appealing to all intending pilgrims to see their visit to Jerusalem, HAJJ or Umrah as a religious ritual visit, that has a time lapse,’’ he advised.
Makun-Lapai urged intending pilgrims to stay within the time frame which they are billed to be in the holy land, urging them to respect the arrangement and come back at the end of the season.
“The way you were ferried out with agreement and conditions, respect this, it is a contract and a deal; abscondment is never a fair option for anyone with a sound mind.
He said that there was no place like home, saying that Nigeria is a cherished country even by foreigners and as such the thought of sneaking away was an unpatriotic thought by any pilgrim.
He emphasised that abscondment was a crime that would not be tolerated as the commission has zero tolerance for it.
“We are appealing to all and sundry not to harbour such thought as it will not augur well.
“We are equally appealing to our sensitisation team to engage in rigorous sensitisation drive to the intending pilgrims on the dangers and risk of abscondment,’’ he said.
Pilgrims Welfare Board
Makun-Lapai explained that another reason for the meeting was to applaud the Pilgrims Welfare Board staff for a job well done during last Hajj operation to Saudi Arabia.
“I must tell you that you all did a successful job during the last Hajj, that attracted encomiums and appraisals and it has brought us two awards.
“I represented the interest of all the staff.
Now that we are back home, I owe you all the responsibility to tell you how we faired.
“This meeting is also an opportunity to interface on the way forward for a bigger success story, it is one thing to be applauded and another thing to sustain the tempo,’’ he said.
The Executive Secretary while applauding staff for a job well done, urged them not to rest on their oars as they go back to tackle challenges bedeviling the board.
“All hands must be on deck as usual as we study our challenges and surmount them, if we want to continue to get good results and awards.
“This task is all our concern, not Makun-Lapai business alone but the staff of Pilgrims Welfare board business and the board members too who are our political leaders as we work in concert,’’ he said.
Similarly, he said the board would continue to carry the media along in all its activities.
“We would continue to recommend to the government the need for the media’s presence and we will continue to give the media their place of pride in our activities.
“For us to inform the public of what we are up to, the role of the media cannot be over emphasised,’’ he said.
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