By Rita Iliya
Minna – Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger on Monday assured Muslim pilgrims of adequate care while in Saudi Arabia to partake in the 2019 Hajj exercise.
Bello gave the assurance in an interview with newsmen before his departure from Minna International Airport alongside 527 last batch of pilgrims from the state to the holy land to perform the 2019 Hajj exercise.
Bello explained that his decision to board the same flight with the pilgrims was to allow him interact with them, to ascertain their challenges and identify possible ways of improving this year’s Hajj exercise.
“Since I became governor in 2015, I have never traveled with the pilgrims. I want to know how they feel , and how they are treated. I have received reports in the past years from different Hajj committees, but I decided to see things for myself.
“This is to allow us identity areas that need improvement, to enable us address them before subsequent trips, “ he said.
Bello promised to pray fervently while in the holy land on the increasing wave of insecurity as well as peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
Earlier, Alhaji Inuwa Musa, the state’s Amirul Hajj, disclosed that the state Pilgrims Welfare Board (NSPWB) had improved the allowances for the Area Pilgrims Welfare Officers (APWOs), to enhance their efficiency.
He charged the APWOs and pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the state by obeying the Saudi Laws and concentrate on the Hajj rites and obligations.
In his remarks, Alhaji Umaru Lapai, Acting Executive Secretary of NSPWB, said a total of 3273 pilgrims, including officials from the state would participate in this year’s Hajj exercise.
He revealed that the state government had made adequate arrangement to provide the pilgrims with three square meals and functional clinic in one of the pilgrims’accommodations in Mecca.
Lapai, however, attributed the flight delays experienced to the absence of written flight schedules and urged the Federal Government to address such issues subsequently.