Niger State government has commenced the airlift of intending pilgrims from the Bola Ahmed Tinubu International Airport, Minna, to Saudi Arabia for the 2024 hajj.

More than 400 intending pilgrims, including State officials, were airlifted from the state capital to the holy land as the first batch.

Addressing the intending pilgrims before departure, Governor Umaru Bago urged them to pray fervently for the State in particular and the Country in general for peace and prosperity.

He also advised them to be good ambassadors of the State and the Country while in the holy land, explaining that the State Government has already paid 200 dollars per pilgrim for Ram slaughtering (Hidiya) and urged them to desist from spending extravagantly.

Governor Bago also encouraged them to channel any challenge they might encounter to the State Amirul Hajj or to the Chairman of the Hajj Commission.

The Governor used the opportunity to appreciate President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for being instrumental in the completion of the airport terminal, which he said has paved way for the license to airlift intending pilgrims from Minna to the holy land, an exercise which was last done five years ago.

The State Amirul Hajj and Emir of Kagara, Alhqji Ahmed Attahiru Gunna II, expressed gratitude to Governor Bago for the tireless efforts to ensure safe airlifting of intending pilgrims.

Salamau Farouk and Mallam Muhammad Muhammad who are part of the intending pilgrims to be airlifted in the first batch, appreciated the Governor for all his support and promised to be of good conduct.

Meanwhile, 3,223 intending pilgrims from Niger State are expected to be airlifted for this year’s hajj exercise with 8 flights scheduled for their airlift.