*As Katsina Pilgrims Board warns social media users against false reports
The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, has urged intending pilgrims for the 2017 hajj to pray for the quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari and continuous peace in the Nigeria.
Akeredolu, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Agboola Ajayi, made the appeal on Tuesday in Akure during a farewell ceremony organised by Ondo State Muslim Welfare Board.
“Pilgrimage to the holy land of Saudi Arabia comes once in a year across the globe and this is an opportunity for Muslim faithfuls going on hajj to pray for the recovery of our ailing president.
“You should not also forget to pray for well being of Nigerians and unity of the country as a whole.
“Remember your obligations to Allah while in the holy land and desist from actions capable of tarnishing the image of Ondo State and Nigeria in general.”
According to him, the state government has provided all necessary support to the board to ensure the success of the operation.
While enjoining officials of the board to discharge their duty with fear of Allah, Akeredolu admonished the pilgrims to conform with the rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia.
The governor warned the pilgrims to shun all vices including carrying contraband goods and hard drugs.
“It is your prayer that is working for us; nothing works like prayer. This year, 301 of you are going to hajj, by the grace of God, next year, we shall be more than this,” he said.
Earlier, Alhaji Khaleel Fawehinmi, chairman of the board, appreciated the state government for its continued support and assistance to the board in performing its statutory responsibility.
“It must be noted that the current administration in the state has expressed its resolve to identify with Muslims for peaceful coexistence among religion faithfuls across the state.
“I like to appeal to you as you are going to the holy land not just to have your personal fulfillment and pray for yourselves alone, I urge you to remember our dear state and the country in general.
“We need prayers of the faithfuls to re-orientate our psyche, values and appreciation of religion itself,” Fawehinmi said.
A total of 301 intending pilgrims from the state will perform travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.
In the meantime, the Katsina State Pilgrims Welfare Board on Tuesday warned the users of social media to desist from posting fake or false stories about the Hajj 2017 operation.
Alhaji Mohammed Rimi, the Executive Director of the board, gave the warning in an interview with newsmen in Katsina.
“Some mischievous social media users have been peddling rumours about the 2017 Hajj operations with the aim of scuttling the process.
“The board is aware that some disgruntled people have been posting false stories about the Hajj operations.
“People that are posting the false and mischievous stories are stationed in Katsina, but posting negative stories about our pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.
“We have transported our pilgrims together with hajj officials as against the lies that no officials is in Saudi Arabia.
“We provided uniforms for our female pilgrims and none of our pilgrims is missing due to non-supply of uniform as claimed by the social media users,’’ Rimi said.
NAN reports that the board has so far transported 2,019 pilgrims from five flights, while another 450 had been screened and waiting to be transported to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.