Abuja - Ms Olajumoke Akinjide, the Minister of State for FCT, on Tuesday said that 2 688 intending pilgrims had been transported to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj.
The minister said this in Abuja via a statement issued by Mr Oluyinka Akintunde, Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) to the FCT Minister.
The statement said that the 2 688 prospective pilgrims represented 85 per cent of the 3 164 FCT pilgrims approved for this year’s Hajj.
It said that some 400 intending pilgrims would be transported to Saudi Arabia on the night of Tuesday, Oct. 16, by Kabo and Max airlines.
"Transportation of Muslim pilgrims from the FCT for this year’s Hajj commenced on September 25, with six flights successfully transporting our pilgrims to Jeddah Airport, from where they were transported to Madinah.
"The sixth batch of the 2012 FCT Muslim pilgrims took off to Jeddah on Kabo Airline at about 4:35a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, with 499 passengers onboard.
"This brings the total number of pilgrims transported to Saudi Arabia from the FCT to 2 688, out of the 3 164 pilgrims who are expected to participate in this year’s Hajj,’’ it said.
The statement said that Akinjide noted that the two airlines approved for the FCT were on ground at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to transport another batch of 400 pilgrims to the Holy Land on the night of Oct. 16.
It quoted the minister as saying that a five-star hotel with a capacity for 3 200 lodgers had been secured by the FCT Administration (FCTA) for FCT pilgrims in Masfalah.
The statement said that Akinjide, however, appealed to intending pilgrims from the FCT to adhere strictly to the guidelines guiding the pilgrimage and the laws of Saudi Arabia governing the exercise.
It said that the minister urged the intending pilgrims to pray for peace and unity in the country.
"Through prayers, Nigeria and the incumbent government will accomplish great things," Akinjide was quoted as saying in the statement.