From Mohammad Ibrahim, Makkah
As pilgrims returned to their home countries after
completion of this year’s Hajj exercise, construction work at the Grand Mosque of Al Haram in Makkah city has continued.
Peoples Daily observed that hundreds of construction workers who were on break were now seen moving to work site at the grand Mosque and nearby construction sites as early as 6:30 am on daily basis. It was gathered that the expansion project of the Ka’abah mosque was temporary suspended by the Saudi Authority due to the Hajj exercise.
But as majority of the pilgrims returned to their various countries building and construction equipment were moved to the mosque so as to continue with the expansion work.
However, life in Makkah has returned to normal after more than 95 percent of pilgrims that performed this year’s Hajj have returned to their countries. The usual hustle by pilgrims in making purchases on their way to or from the Grand Mosque was no longer there, as most shops remained closed and where opened only after the 4: pm prayer.
The usual crowd that thronged major roads leading to the Grand Mosque was virtually empty. It was also gathered that the pilgrims’ reduction within the city centre led to the drop in taxi fare, which sky-rocketed to about 10 Saudi riyals, equivalent to (500 naira) to Grand Mosque and between 30 to 50 riyal to places like Jeddah and Al Aziziyah has now reduced to between 2 riyals 100 naira to 20 riyals (200 naira) respectively.
It was similarly observed that majority of the Kaduna state pilgrims remaining in the city were from Kaduna south local government area of the state and some left-overs from Kubau local government area of the state.
Some of the pilgrims spoke with expressed happiness for the delay in returning them back home, saying that it was an opportunity for them to engage in serious prayers and with ease because of the decongestion within the mosque. Others complained that they were facing difficulties particularly with the kind of food they were eating, saying since majority of the pilgrims had left most local food vendors known as (Tukaris) have also left forcing them to buy food at higher prices.
They, therefore, appealed to National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to ensure their return journey back home soon, to avoid unnecessarily delayed in the holy land.
Meanwhile, Kaduna state Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Board, Director of Operations Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed Kangaroo says the November 1st dateline for the return of the last batch pilgrims of the state remain unchanged.
According to him, the NAHCON has already issued a released for the last flight, which indicates that the aircraft will depart King Abdul’azeez airport Jeddah with about over 500 pilgrims conveying Kaduna pilgrims and left over from other states.