HAJJ 2021: Lagos Commissioner Advises intending pilgrims on Covid-19 vaccine

The Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, has advised Intending Pilgrims for the Y2021 Hajj exercise to endeavour to take the COVID-19 Vaccine whenever it arrives in the country.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi,

The Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, has advised Intending Pilgrims for the Y2021 Hajj exercise to endeavour to take the COVID-19 Vaccine whenever it arrives in the country.

Prince Elegushi gave the advice, on Tuesday, during a special meeting with the league of Ulamahs of the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board at the Shamsi Adisa Thomas (SAT) Mosque, Old Secretariat, Ikeja.

The Commissioner urged the Intending Pilgrims, Ulamahs and other stakeholders in the Hajj operations to prevent being influenced against taking the vaccine whenever the Federal Government commences its dispensation in Nigeria, adding that only holders of the vaccine certificate would be allowed entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when the Hajj exercise begins.

On the airlifting and safety of Pilgrims to and from Saudi Arabia, the Commissioner informed the gathering of the plans by the State Government towards ensuring that a reputable airline is engaged for airlifting of pilgrims within two to three days of operations, stressing that the old system when travellers stayed in the airport for weeks before being airlifted is gone for good.

While emphasising that any airline that defaults on the airlifting agreement would be penalised accordingly, he lamented the inability of the intending pilgrims to embark on Hajj in Y2020 due to the global pandemic but expressed his appreciation to all the affected persons for trusting the State government with their Hajj fares.

Elegushi, who stated that Hajj was like a pillar that holds the entire universe together, promised the stakeholders that a befitting accommodation would be provided for pilgrims both in Mecca and Madinah as well as Muna. He, however, solicited the Ulamahs’ support for the State government in its quest to give the pilgrims the best of Hajj experience and medical treatment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

On his part, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic Matters, Alh. Ahmed Abdullahi Jebe, called for a harmonious and cordial relationship between the Ulamahs and schedule officers in their dealings with the intending pilgrims at the various Local Government Areas of the State.

He said their cooperation would further help in achieving much-needed success during the Hajj operations.

The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Rahman Ishola; Chairman, SAT Mosque, Ikeja, Mr. Murtala Bamgboshe and Chairman of Ulamahs, Alh. Muhsin Ajagbemokeferi were among the participants at the meeting.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.