The number of Muslims who arrived in Saudi Arabia from all over the world to perform Hajj are now about 447,302. The figure represents an increase of 53,002 (13.4 per cent) over the same period as at last year, the Passports Department said in its daily statistics.
Indonesians constituted the largest community of would-be pilgrims in Medina with 59,441. Earlier last month, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria announced that it has cleared about 40,000 applicants to go for hajj. As at now 1,353 Lagos State pilgrims have arrived Saudi Arabia for hajj.
Meanwhile earlier last week, there was a bird strike incident at the Ilorin airport which prompted Med-View Airline to abort airlifting of pilgrims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia for the 2017 hajj exercise.
Hajj, which means pilgrimage, is one of the pillars of Islam which is compulsory on every individual who is sane physically fit and who has the financial ability to perform the exercise which, this year, is meant to reach its peak in Saudi Arabia on August 28.
In another development, Yobe State Police Command has arrested officials of the State’s Pilgrims Welfare Board and Potiskum Local Government Council over alleged missing hajj fares paid by 41 intending pilgrims.
Jafiya Zubairu, the command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), confirmed the development on Thursday in Damaturu. He mentioned that officials from both organizations allegedly diverted deposits made by 41 intending pilgrims from the Potiskum Local Government Area, and could not secure visas for them.
The 41 affected intending pilgrims had protested to the State’s House of Assembly to solicit its intervention to enable them perform the hajj.
Speaker of the House, Alhaji Adamu Dala-Dogo, guaranteed the intending pilgrims that the legislature would liaise with the executive, to ensure that they perform the religious obligation.
Meanwhile, most of the intending pilgrims from the state had been transported to the holy land.
ETN24 spoke exclusively with the Chairman, Edo State Pilgrims Welfare Board as the Edo Pilgrims left for the hajj exercise on Friday. Watch the interview on our Youtube Channel ETN24