By Victor Adeoti
The Osun government on Monday started the vaccination of 800 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mr Tajudeen Lawal, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, during the flag-off exercise at the office of the Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board in Osogbo, said the agency had received enough doses of the vaccine for the intending pilgrims.
Lawal said the exercise was in compliance with the directive of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), and the safety guidelines of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
The commissioner said the administration of Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun would continue to prioritise the welfare of the people as it had been doing since inception.
Lawal said the state had recorded many successes and received several commendations and accolades for its outstanding performance in the annual Hajj operations.
He assured the intending pilgrims of seamless and hitch-free 2021 hajj exercise.
“As you all know, Nigeria and other countries of the world could not 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.
In his remarks, Mr Bolaji Sanni, the Secretary of the State’s Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, said the exercise was designed to adhere to and fulfill all necessary safety requirements as laid down by the health authorities.
Sanni said that the intending pilgrims were 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 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”, Sanni said. (NAN)