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Hajj 2024: Lagos to airlift 1,862 pilgrims, allays fear over pilgrimage to Israel

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IBRAHIM QUADRI

Lagos State government on Wednesday said it would airlift 1,862 for the 2024 Hajj as he allayed fear over planned to perform pilgrimage in Israel.

The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ibrahim Layode, stated this in Alausa, Ikeja, during the 2024 Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the first year of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s second term in office.

Layode disclosed that a total number of 3, 655 Muslim pilgrims went on Hajj in 2023.

The Commissioner recalled: “While in the Holy Land during the Christian pilgrimage, the Israel-Hamas war broke out, thus the second batch of the Christian pilgrims were not able to make the trip. To the glory of God, the whole 310 pilgrims returned home safe and sound, no death and none absconded”.

Reeling out the achievements of the Ministry in the last one year, Layode said that during the Easter and Ramadan period, the Lagos State government on March 29, 2024, organized Combined Special Prayers for Nigeria and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The commissioner added that the event was attended by Governor Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, past deputy governors, serving legislators at the National Assembly, members of the State Executive Council, religious leaders, other top government functionaries, among others.

He pointed out that 2024 Ramadan Tafsir, which marked the 25th year anniversary of the Lagos State Ramadan Tafsir, was celebrated with all past commissioners and permanent secretaries.

The commissioner noted that during the period of the Ramadan fast, over 50,000 food packs and drinks were distributed to public servants in all MDAs across the state to break their fast.

He added, during the Lent/Easter celebration, which was in anticipation of spiritual event when Christians fast, pray and engage in acts of self-discipline and purification, the Ministry facilitated the distribution of gift items and over 50,000 food packs as means of showing kindness (palliatives) to the teeming fasting Christians across MDAs in the state.

Layode commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for also extending the gesture of distributing gift items to religious leaders in the state to celebrate the Easter festival.

Speaking on the International Tolerance Day, which is celebrated annually on the 16th November as declared by the United Nations, he said that due to the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos, the state adopted the day to promote religious tolerance and develop the accommodative mindset of individuals.

To commemorate the day, the commissioner noted that religious leaders, scholars and professionals alike were invited to discuss chosen topical issues that border on tolerance.

The list of participants, he added, cuts across students, youth, religious organisations, among others.

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