By Ismail Abdulaziz
Nigerian pilgrims from Osun and Oyo States were welcomed with fresh roses by the owner of Amjad Al-Salam Hotel on arrival into the city of Madinah on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the hotel owner, Ahmed Musa’ed, personally welcomed the Nigerian pilgrims with a surprise gift of roses, dates and water.
Musa’ed said that the gesture is in appreciation of the good relationship between his hotel and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) over the years.
‘’It is not about money always. I deeply appreciate the mutual relationship that has existed between my hotel and Nigerian pilgrims. It is also a way of making the visitors of Allah comfortable.
‘’This is the first time after two consecutive years that we are once again welcoming our esteem guests to Madinatul Munauwara. We will continue to provide the best services that have been attracting the authority to patronise us over the years.
Hajiya Bilkisu Awah, Head of Madinah Accommodation, commended the management and staff of the hotel for the warm reception accorded the pilgrims, adding that the surprise gesture was appreciated by the pilgrims.
‘’We are elated with this surprise welcome by the management and staff of this hotel. The relationship we have developed over the years has been yielding positive response. NAHCON will continue to improve on the services provided to pilgrims,’’ she said.
In another development, a total of 7,076 Nigerian pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the 2022 Hajj operations from 10 states; Bauchi, Borno, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Zamfara and the FCT.
The pilgrims were brought in 16 flights from the beginning of the Hajj operation on June 6, with the inaugural flight in Maiduguri.
Nigeria received a slot of over 43,000 for the 2022 Hajj operations among the over one million pilgrim slated to participate in the exercise worldwide.
NAHCON had said that all registered pilgrims for this year’s Hajj would be moved to Saudi Arabia before closure of the Jeddah airport.
Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, Chairman of NAHCON, in a statement by Fatima Usara, Head of Public Affairs, said the commission needed the cooperation of the state officials and pilgrims to realise this.
While praying for a successful Hajj for Nigerian pilgrims, Hassan gave the assurance of always delivering proper services for the welfare of the pilgrims.
Alhaji Yusuf Abubakar, Head of the NAHCON 2022 Hajj National Reception Team in Madinah, told NAN that his team has been providing consular and medical assistance to pilgrim on arrival at the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Madinah.
He advised pilgrims to ensure that their passports are genuine and to adhere to the travel guidelines of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to avoid embarrassment to themselves and Nigeria.
‘’All those with either medical or consular challenges are appropriately handled by relevant committees of NAHCON on arrival.
“Our well trained staff effortlessly conducts their responsibilities to pilgrims. And I am always around to work with them to give them moral support as well as show example.
“So far, no serious case has been recorded. Though the flights are few now, but we are prepared when the number of flights increased in the next few days,” he said.
Pilgrims are first taken to Madinah on the first leg of the performance of the Hajj rites in order to visit historical Islamic sites that have relationship with Prophet Muhammad.
Some of the sites pilgrims are expected to visit include the Prophet’s Mosque, the Quba, Masjid Ijaba, Mount Uhud, and Baqi’a. (NAN)
Edited by Ismail AbdulAziz/Vincent Obi