By Muhammad Hadi

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Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board is set to begin weighing of pilgrims’ 32kg bags today, Friday.
Towards a successful return journey, the board has concluded all necessary arrangements to ensure a hitch free exercise.
The Executive Secretary of the board, Alh. Umar Makun Lapai stated this while briefing the Amirul Hajj team in an interactive session with the Area Pilgrims Welfare Officers (APWOs) from the 25 LGAs in Makkah, yesterday.
Alh. Makun while acknowledging the fact that there was no any official communication from the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) as to the pilgrims’ departure home, he maintained that they will abide by what was officially given to each pilgrim on their boarding pass as tentative date for their return journey, which according to him, 2nd September was indicated as date for the 1st flight. He prayed that the Airline would abide by the standard rules.
The executive secretary said that the board has already received about 1000 tags and would provide weighing scales without necessarily waiting for NAHCON’s; as, according to him, the customized bags provided to pilgrims were of NAHCON’s standard assuring that anything short of that, would be outrightly rejected at the spot of the weighing exercise and pilgrim owning such luggage would be advised to go for Cargo.
On ferrying of Zamzam water into pilgrims’ luggages, Makun assured pilgrims that such luggages would be detected during screening at the airport, particularly at the conveyor belt; and the water containers be removed.
The ES further warned pilgrims to strictly abide by the 32kg main luggage and 8kg hand luggage in order to avoid any embarrassment and unnecessary delay during weighing and screening.
In his remark at the briefing, the state Amirul Hajj, Engr. Inuwa Musa Kuta, assured pilgrims that all pilgrims were entitled to 5kg gallon of Zamzam and hinted that the Zamzam water had already been cargoed to Nigeria and every pilgrim will collect his/her own on arrival, noting that there’s no point for any pilgrim ferrying water in his luggage.
Engr. Kuta admonished all pilgrims to abide by the do’s and don’ts of the return journey in order to have a hitch-free journey back home. He thanked the management of the board for the cooperation, support and well coordinated 2019 Hajj, saying that the cooperation the Amirul Hajj team receives was overwhelming.
The Amirul Hajj used the forum to apologised to the APWO of Borgu for the earlier indictment over his conduct during the stay at Muna- pilgrims tents, stating that investigation had since cleared him.
On the update of the two missing pilgrims, a female from Gurara and a male from Katcha LGAs respectively, Kuta affirmed that search has been intensified in various accommodations of other states, hospitals, streets among other places, with prayers that they might be found alive.
Engr. Musa Kuta also commended the media team that gave the Hajj exercise the needed coverage. He said that there was no going to be any favouritism on the return journey, as every pilgrim would be transported based on his flight schedule.

TAURARUWA