By Stanley Onyekwere
All intending pilgrims from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for this year’s Hajj operations have been warned against ignoring flight schedules, as defaulters would have themselves to blame for not being airlifted to Saudi Arabia for the religious exercise.
According to the Minister of State for the FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, who issued the warning, pilgrims, failure to meet their flight schedules have been an annual experience but the 2014 airliner is a Saudi airline that would treat any such action only in accordance with international best practices.
The minister stated this while inaugurating the newly appointed Amirul Hajj, Alhaji Idris Musa, who is the traditional ruler of Jiwa, to head the 2014 Hajj Committee for the FCT contingents to Saudi Arabia for the holy exercise.
“This year’s intending pilgrims should adhere strictly to the flight schedules because, the airliner assigned to airlift them to the holy land is Saudi airline that is not used to our operation.
“In fact, whoever, misses his/her flight should be blamed as the issue would be treated in accordance with international standards,” Akinjide warned.
She said the outbreak of Ebola almost marred the 2014 pilgrim exercise but has been overcome, stressing that the committee should ensure that each pilgrim is screened before being airborne.
“Experiences have shown that each year comes with its own peculiarities. This year it is the Ebola Virus Diseases, EVD, which nearly marred the exercise; therefore, it is very important that you make sure that each and every intending pilgrim is screened by medical personnel and declared fit for the exercise before embarking on the journey,” she emphasised.
The minister noted that the primary responsibility of the committee is to ensure that the contingents’ welfare are not compromised in any way, “therefore, their operations offshore and onshore must be in line with the welfare of the contingents.”
Responding, the Amirul Hajj, Sarki Jiwa, Alh. Idris Musa, said the assignment is a tedious job, urging members of the committee to be one family, so that it would be a successful operation.
His words: “I want us to be extra patient. We should lower ourselves.
Somebody may annoy you, the answer is patience.”
He urged members who are not ready to work and be close to the pilgrims to stay back before the airlift saying that “we are there to serve God”.