By Olalekan Murisiku, Makkah
HAJJ exercise requires movement from one place or the other from beginning to the end. The presence of millions of Muslims across the globe provides opportunities for commercial vehicles operators to make brick business by rendering transportation services.
Pilgrims in most cases bear the brunt of the high cost of transportation while those who are not buoyant result to walking bearable distances under the hot weather with a resultant pains and weakness.
Pilgrims from Nigeria are not exempted from this situation but the provision of free transportation service to Lagos Pilgrims was a succor that made them applaud the initiative of the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
Commending the gesture, Lagos Amirul Hajj and the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef said the Governor Ambode has demonstrated a sincere commitment to the spiritual development of Lagosians most especially those that performed this year’s pilgrimage.
“It is as if the Governor is here with us. Strategically he has put in hajj operation system for Lagos pilgrims that would make them feel at home. To Governor Ambode, Lagosians irrespective of where they are, they should be comfortable.”
New Ambulance Bus
He disclosed that the state government had procured a brand new ambulance bus in addition to the refurbished one for the use of Lagos pilgrims and by extension pilgrims from Nigeria at large.
“The delivery of a new ambulance bus courtesy of Governor Ambode is commendable. Last year during the stampede the Lagos ambulance which we had refurbished was helpful in the movement of victims during the emergency. So, the new ambulance bus came at the right time for the benefit of Nigerians who are in Saudi for the Hajj exercise. We are grateful to the Governor”, he said.
Meanwhile, the excited pilgrims, who have been enjoying the free transportation services, have applauded the gesture stressing that the initiative has taken away some burdens from them.
One of the pilgrims, Alhaji Kamal Akande Adeyinka, said Lagos State government has fully done well with the facilities put in place.
“We have so many things to recount as far as this year’s Hajj is concern. I thank Allah for the opportunity he has given me to perform this year’s hajj under the supervision of the Amirul Hajj”
An Oyo State born pilgrim, Alh Oseni Adewole Iyanda who joined the Lagos contingent to this year’s hajj said that he was overwhelmed by the arrangement he benefited from.
“I am from Ibadan, I decided to join Lagos contingent because of the Amirul Hajj’s weekly programme that I do listen to. The Amirul Hajj even took me personally to the Hospital this morning when I needed to see doctor. When I get back to Nigeria I will encourage people who are interested in performing year 2017 Hajj to join Lagos Contingent because am impressed”, he emphasized.
On her part, Alhaja Silifat Sanusi from Ifako Ijaiye Local government said initially she was skeptical before leaving Lagos that the arrangement would be rowdy with the population of the pilgrims.
She however maintained that the Amirul Hajj proved her wrong with his tactical organization of the hajj exercise.
“I am impressed with the Commissioner’s style of controlling people. You know it’s very difficult controlling women particularly where we are in multitude but he does that with ease. May Allah continue to elevate him”, she prayed.
Other pilgrims, who bore their minds on the free bus and ambulance services, took turns to pray for Governor Akiwunmi Ambode, the Amirul Hajj, Dr Abdulhakeem Abdullateef and other state functionaries that Allah continue to strengthen them and take Lagos to greater heights.
Olalekan Murisiku, is the Media Assistant To The Lagos Commissioner For Home Affairs and the State’s Amirul Hajj