By Ayoni M. Agbabiaka
Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, has said that pilgrims that ignored flight schedules would have themselves to blame.
Akinjide said pilgrims’ failure to meet their flight schedules had been an annual experience, but that the 2014 airliner was a Saudi airline that would treat any such action only in accordance with international best practices.
Akinjide said this yesterday while inaugurating the newly appointed Amirul Hajj, Alhaji idris Musa Sarkin Jiwa to head the 2014 Hajj Committee for the FCT contingents to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.
She said: “This year’s intending pilgrims should adhere strictly to the flight schedules because, the airliner assigned to airlift them to the holy land is Saudi airline that is not use to our operation.
“In fact, whoever misses his/her flight should blame him or herself as the issue would be treated in accordance with international standards.”
She said the outbreak of Ebola almost marred the 2014 pilgrim exercise but has been overcome stressing that the committee should ensure that each pilgrim is screened before being airborne.
“Experience has shown that each year comes with its own peculiarity. This year it is the Ebola Virus Diseases (EVD) which nearly marred the exercise, therefore it is very important that you make sure that each and every intending pilgrim is screened by medical personnel and declared fit for the exercise before embarking on the journey.”
The primary responsibility of the committee, she said, was to ensure that the contingents’ welfare issues were not compromised in any way; therefore, their operations offshore and onshore must be in line with promoting the welfare of the contingents.
She said the new team was “part of the administration’s repositioning efforts of the Board for effective service delivery to the FCT pilgrims’ contingents and not an indictment on the last team. Last year hajj was the best.”
In his response, the Amirul Hajj, Sarki Jiwa, Alhaji Idris Musa, said the assignment was a tedious one, urging members of Amril Hajj to be one family “so that it will be a successful operation.”
“I want us to be extra patient. We should lower ourselves. Somebody may annoy you, the answer is patience.”
He urged members who were not ready to work and be close to the pilgrims to stay back before the airlift. “We are there to serve God.”
He however urged the minister of state to ignore any form of gossip as the country is full of gossips.
“Anybody that comes to you to gossip call us; we assure you of our maximum cooperation. Nigeria is full of gossips,” he said.
Other members of the committee are Alhaji Isah Garba Yewuti, Mrs. Olasumbo Olarewaju Goodluck and Alhaji Umar Sanda Kuso as secretary.