By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday evening arrived in Makkah from the city of Madinah, Saudi Arabia, where he began the initial leg of his Umrah engagements in the Kingdom.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made this known in a statement issued in Abuja, on Saturday morning.
He said: ”After the evening prayer at the Holy Prophet’s Mosque on Thursday, the President was ushered to the grave of Prophet Mohammed where he said prayers for the nation, his family and himself.
“He was seen off at the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Madina International Airport by the Governor of the Madinah Province, Prince Faisal Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.”
Shehu further disclosed that the President was welcomed at Makkah by the Regional the Governor, Prince Khalid Bin Faisal Al-Saud.
Also at hand to receive him were the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Justice Isa Dodo (rtd), the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and officials of the Nigerian Consulate in Jeddah.
“After the reception, he immediately went ahead to commence the Umrah rites Friday evening,” the presidental aide revealed.
President Buhari had on May 16 left Abuja for Saudi Arabia following the invitation of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, the king of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to perform the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) in the Kingdom.
The President, who is expected to return to Abuja on May 21, had last performed the Umrah in Saudi Arabia in Feb. 2016.
Umrah is an optional but recommended pilgrimage to Makkah that can be made at any time of the year.