Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has stressed the need for the involvement of youths in Hajj operations.
Governor Sanwo-Olu who spoke while receiving the Chairman and Board members of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), who paid him a courtesy visit at Lagos State House, Marina assured NAHCON leadership that “Lagos State will continue to ensure that seamless Hajj operations and our Hajj will continue to be a place where people can transit properly and ensure that they have a worthwhile experience passing through airport or many of our facilities in Lagos.”
The Governor while commending several innovative moves by the Hajj Commission, promised to support them in needed areas, adding that Lagos State will ensure adequate preparation and safety for participants during Hajj.
In his response, Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, said the commission has come up with a novel idea, known as Hajj Saving Scheme to make Hajj affordable for intending pilgrim so that they can save enough money to participate in the Holy pilgrimage.
He said such initiative will help government to focus more on logistics rather than spending huge resources to sponsor people to Hajj for Holy pilgrimage.
Alhaji Hassan said the commission is fully ready for next year’s Hajj. “As you are aware, COVID-19 did impact negatively and this year Hajj didn’t take place. But we are positive. Saudi Arabia has opened their country. The Lesser Hajj has started. So, we are positive that Hajj itself will also take place.
“We are also aware that we must go through all the COVID-19 protocols, even though our aspiration, prayer and hope is that before Hajj, which should be sometime in June 2021, COVID-19 would have been defeated by the human race. But we would ensure that we follow all the necessary health guidelines to take our pilgrims over there.
He also stressed the need for young people to join the Hajj business in Nigeria. He said the commission is ready to introduce young vibrant people into Hajj administration, adding that the Hajj Commission is working on Hajj Training Institute to training people involved in Hajj operations.
In another development, Governor Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday reiterated his administration’s commitment to prioritise programmes that give youths more opportunities to thrive.
He affirmed this while receiving the management team of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) who paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina.
The Governor said the recent developments in Nigeria, especially the EndSARS protests necessitated the need to do more in engaging the youths, a project which his administration is committed to, adding that the protests by the youths is a clarion call for people in positions of leadership, saying there is need to deal with the root cause of what brought about the protests.
He said: “The EndSARS protest was beyond Police brutality. The youths need to be employed. They need to be engaged. They need to continue to have that collaboration with government. We need to give them a space, listening ears and understand what their yearnings and needs are.”
“For us, we will create that collaborative environment. As a government, we have quite a number of ‘youth leaders’ in our cabinet. But we want to also do more. We want to do more even in our subsequent budget to ensure that indeed we are thinking about programmes that can help that teeming population and give them hope and reality is that we are all in this together.”
In her response, the President of ICAN, Dame Onome Joy Adewuji, commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and also commiserated with the governor on the recent attacks by hoodlums, who hijacked the EndSARS protests. .
Dame Adewuji also implored the three arms of governments to focus on all the issues raised by Nigerian youths during the EndSARS protests. She further stressed the need for transparency and accountability in government across the three tiers of government in Nigeria.