Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago of Niger State has assured the people of the state of his plans to build a first-class Hajj Camp within the Minna International Airport to ease the movement of intending pilgrims from the state capital to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Hajj.
Governor Bago, who is presently performing Hajj in Saudi Arabia, gave the assurance when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Niger State camp in Mina, Makka, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He expressed dismay over the level of poor treatment being meted out to Niger State contingents, adding that the Niger State government would not accept such poor arrangements from the National Hajj Commission (NAHCO). He said after paying the Commission in full, they decided to give them (Nigerlites) substandard accommodation with no adequate facilities, besides being overpopulated.
He said "We are going to build a first-class Hajj camp just within the airport in Minna to reduce the hardship of Muslims, and we are in discussion with Saudi Arabian authorities so that we are going to buy about 100 gas-powered cooking buses so that pilgrims won't suffer anymore".
Governor Bago, while appealing to the pilgrims to take the hardship they were going through as an act of Allah, reminded them that pilgrimage was an act of worship that required patience and sacrifice, adding that he was also subjected to some difficulties even after paying for his Hajj under a private arrangement.
"We are appealing to Nigerites to be patient with different policies of the government that aim at bringing economic prosperity, as it is going to be tough from the beginning, but I am sure that by the grace of God, we will overcome it.
"And as people from Niger State, we are very sure that as we have started, we are going to hit the ground running, and with Allah on our side, we will succeed", he added.
He regretted, however, that the people who handled the Minna Airport project were not serious about it from the beginning because the approval was done on the eve of the last administration.
Niger State Acting Governor, Comrade Yakubu Garba, has urged Nigerlites to use the period of this year's Eid-el-Kabir festival to promote peaceful coexistence.
Comrade Yakubu Garba stated this while speaking to journalists shortly after the two Raka'at Eid prayers presided over by the Chief Imam of Minna, Mallam Ibrahim Isah Fari, at the Minna Eid praying ground on Wednesday.
He described the Eid-el-Kabir festival as an important act of Islamic religious worship that symbolises the believer’s faith, trust, and obedience, as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to fulfil Allah's command to sacrifice his son, Isma'il.
He said that the festival goes beyond animal sacrifice, stressing the need to appreciate the fact that faith and trust in Allah and obedience to His commandments were the foundation of the relationship between man and his creator, Allah SWT.
"As we mark the 2023 festival of sacrifice, I urge you all to imbibe the lessons that underline the celebration, which essentially reinforces the spirit of sacrifice, tolerance, sympathy, empathy, devotion to duty, and the promotion of harmonious coexistence.
"As patriotic citizens, we all need to use this occasion to renew our commitment to the pursuit of peace, unity, progress, and the overall development of our state and nation," he added.
The acting governor also used the occasion to reiterate the commitment of the Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago-led administration to curb insecurity in the state and improve the livelihood of the people. He identified the security of lives and properties, the welfare of citizens, infrastructural development, and urban renewal as the key priorities of the administration.
While calling on all Nigerlites to give their maximum support to the present administration in the state, he equally expressed sincere appreciation to Allah SWT, the traditional and religious leaders, as well as all the people of the state, for giving them the mandate, adding that with the support, encouragement, cooperation, and understanding of the people, they will ensure that the state becomes one of the most economically viable and peaceful in the country.
He equally urged all Muslims to go about their celebrations peacefully and report to the nearest law enforcement agents any suspicious act capable of breaching public peace.
Similarly, in his Sallah message, the former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, who also attended the Eid prayers, observed that no government will succeed without the support of its citizens, adding that everyone has a responsibility that, if taken care of by doing what is right, will make the state and the country better.
The Acting Governor was accompanied to the Eid prayer by the Secretary to the State Government, Alh. Abubakar Usman Gawu; the Chief of Staff to Governor Umar Bago, Hon. Abdullahi Usman Gbatamangi; a former political adviser to the immediate past Governor of the state, Alh. Nma Kolo; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Alh. Akilu Musa Kuta; and a host of other permanent secretaries and government officials.