The Director of Islamic Affairs, Nigerian Army, Col. Shehu Mustapha, on Sunday in Lagos said that 402 members of the military, their families and friends would participate in the 2015Hajj.
Mustapha made the disclosure while addressing newsmen on the directorate’s preparations during an awareness programme at the Directorate of Islamic Affairs complex, Bonny Cantonment, Lagos.
He said the directorate began the awareness lecture on Saturday, adding that the Sunday activity was to practicalise what the intending pilgrims would do, how and where to do it.
“It is a known fact that performing the pilgrimage is one of the pillars in Islam and any act of worship must be done with knowledge.
“If it is done without knowledge, one is bound to make mistakes.
“Performing the hajj has rules, regulations and procedures. These procedures are not known to most Muslim faithful.
“That is why we called members of the military, their families and friends who wish to go to Mecca through the directorate to teach them what they need to know and do.
“There are other issues intending pilgrims need to know. First is discipline. Nigerians are going to meet the whole world in the holy land and they need to be disciplined.
“We told them how to behave, talk and about obedience to law.
“We’ve talked about code of conduct. We have printed out the code of conduct for every intending pilgrim; it contains the dos and don’ts.
“We also talked about security, personal security, property, travelling allowance and transportation, accommodation in the holy land, health issues, personal hygiene and things to avoid.
“We discussed the three different ways they will perform the hajj, how, where and whom they would do it with.
“We told them all the procedures for Jawaf at Kaabar and all the basic things they need to know,’’ he said.
Mustapha said a similar exercise would be done in Abuja, adding that those who missed the Lagos exercise would benefit from the Abuja event.
He, therefore, called on intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the military and their families and urged them to pray for the country, the president and peace of the land.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the programme, some of the participants described it as educating, incisive and worthwhile.
Mrs Afisat Bello, wife of a soldier, said that she was able to know some facts about pilgrimage.
Another soldier’s wife, Mrs Aisha Sadiq, said the programme was timely and revealing.
“The programme is very educating. Going through the practicals of how you perform hajj is quite interesting and will help us when we get to Mecca.’’
“The mini Kaabar stage is very good to teach people,’’ said Ibrahim Lima, an official of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Nasil Marafa, a civilian, who had performed the hajj, said the programme reminded him of some of the things he had forgotten.
NAN reports that bags and uniform were distributed to participants, including giving them three vaccinations against Yellow Fever, Cerebra Spinal Meningitis (CSM) and Oral Polo. (NAN)