By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
Osun Government on Monday disclosed that over 800 intending pilgrims to this year’s Hajj will be vaccinated as part of the requirements for visiting the Holy Land.
The exercise according to the state government is in compliance with the directive of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) which is in accordance with the safety guidelines of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Hon. Tajudeen Olaniyi Lawal, said the Administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola was committed to citizens’ welfare, healthy living, safety and general well-being.
It would be recalled that the leadership of NAHCON had earlier directed all the 36 States’ pilgrims welfare boards, including the FCT and Armed Forces in the country, to urgently give Covid-19 Vaccination to all 2021 Hajj intending pilgrims, so as to meet up with the average of 12 weeks’ interval required for pilgrims to take two rounds of vaccination before the Hajj exercise.
Addressing the registered intending pilgrims during the flag- off of the vaccination exercise at the premises of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, State Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo, Hon. Tajudeen Lawal said the board had received enough doses to cater for the needs of the intending pilgrims.
He said the Administration of Governor Oyetola would continue to do the needful and would prioritise the welfare of the people as it has been doing since inception.
Lawal who said the State had recorded many successes and received several commendations and accolades for its annual outstanding performance, assured the intending pilgrims of seamless and hitch-free exercise.
“First and foremost, I have to commend our amiable Governor for his prompt support over the years. He has shown to us that he is a leader, a worthy leader whose passion and love for the welfare and general well-being of the citizens is second to none.
“As you all know, Nigeria and other parts of the world couldn’t perform Hajj last year. We are considering combining registered intending pilgrims for the year 2020 and 2021.
“So far so good, about 800 people have registered and hopefully, all of them would be vaccinated in line with the directive of the NAHCON.
“I am appealing to our people to take this exercise seriously and conduct themselves with topmost Omoluabi ethos whenever they are in the Holy Land because this is what we are known for”, Lawal added.
While addressing the journalists, the Secretary, Osun Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Bolaji Sanni, said the exercise was designed to adhere to and fulfill all necessary safety requirements as laid down by the health authorities.
According to him, the intending pilgrims are expected to take two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines before they leave Nigeria for Saudi Arabia.
“This vaccination exercise is in line with the directive of the the NAHCON to vaccinate all the intending pilgrims as part of the necessities for this year’s Hajj.
“Since the Hajj exercise for this year is expected to commence in June, we are under obligation to carry out the vaccination exercise to meet up with the deadline.
“This first phase of the vaccination exercise will end by April while the second dose will be taken early June as the intending pilgrims are expected to depart Nigeria for Saudi Arabia by the middle of June.
“We are ready to complete the exercise for all of them. Though we have the combined list of 2020 and 2021 running to 800 registered intending pilgrims so far, some are still registering and we are committed to ensuring that everybody is fairly treated,” Sanni Padded.
Some of the intending pilgrims that spoke to journalists after being jabbed commended the exercise and the State government for its prompt response to the current health reality.