Nigeria, Saudi Arabia maintain fruitful bilateral coordination: Envoy

Special Nigeria, Saudi Arabia maintain fruitful bilateral coordination: Envoy
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Dignitaries at Nigeria’s 63rd independence day anniversary function in Riyadh. (AN Photo)
Special Nigeria, Saudi Arabia maintain fruitful bilateral coordination: Envoy
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Dignitaries at Nigeria’s 63rd independence day anniversary function in Riyadh. (AN Photo)
Special Nigeria, Saudi Arabia maintain fruitful bilateral coordination: Envoy
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Dignitaries at Nigeria’s 63rd independence day anniversary function in Riyadh. (AN Photo)
Special Nigeria, Saudi Arabia maintain fruitful bilateral coordination: Envoy
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Dignitaries at Nigeria’s 63rd independence day anniversary function in Riyadh. (AN Photo)
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Updated 03 October 2023
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Nigeria, Saudi Arabia maintain fruitful bilateral coordination: Envoy

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia maintain fruitful bilateral coordination: Envoy
  • Ambassador Yahaya Lawal: Our bilateral cooperation, which was initially Hajj-centric, has witnessed diversification to cover a number of mutually beneficial areas
  • Yahaya Lawal: We share similar aspirations as members of OPEC+ for a stable oil market

RIYADH: Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have maintained a fruitful mechanism of bilateral consultations and coordination between them since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1961, according to Nigerian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Yahaya Lawal.

Speaking at Nigeria’s 63rd independence day anniversary function in Riyadh, the envoy on Monday said: “Last week we joined Saudi brothers and sisters in commemorating their 93rd National Day. We wish them further progress in their remarkable journey toward a prosperous future. Our heartfelt appreciation goes to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for sustained endeavours in consolidating and advancing the age-long historical and cordial relations binding our two brotherly countries.”

After independence on Oct. 1, 1960, Nigeria established formal diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia in 1961.

“I am happy to inform you that for the past six decades, our bilateral cooperation, which was initially Hajj-centric, has witnessed diversification to cover a number of mutually beneficial areas. I am pleased to note that a large number of our compatriots and professionals, including valued Nigerian football players, are actively working and contributing silently to the strengthening of these relations in various fields. This is expected to receive an additional boost when more than a dozen agreements and MoUs currently under negotiation within the framework of the Nigeria-Saudi Joint Commission are concluded,” the envoy said.

“It is our firm belief that these agreements, when finalized and implemented, would contribute in unlocking the existing huge potentials in the relationship and elevate our cooperation to a strategic level,” Lawal said.

“As members of several international organizations such as the UN, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the International Energy Forum, the G77, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank, the Digital Cooperation Organization and the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, our two nations have effectively used these and other platforms for close interaction and coordination,” he said.

“We share similar aspirations as members of OPEC+ for a stable oil market. We also subscribe to the promotion of South-South cooperation for enhancing trade, investment and sustainable economic development.”

Nigeria, like the Kingdom under its “Vision 2030,” was diversifying its economy away from oil dependence by focussing on agriculture, mining, the digital economy and tourism to promote sustainable development, he said.

“Our country is also cleansing and liberalizing the business environment to attract more domestic and Foreign Direct Investments. We have introduced in this regard a number of programs, which include a new National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy, the establishment of Special Agro Industrial Processing Zones, the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Programme and the Petroleum Industry Act, which seeks to transform and open up the oil and gas sector,” he said.

“Our country has also put in place sufficient incentives to attract Foreign Direct Investments. These include a tax holiday for up to five years on agriculture and solid minerals, easy company registration within 24 hours, pioneer status incentives of up to three years, easy repatriation of profits, easy access to credit facility, low import duties, and equal treatment of local and foreign companies,” he said.

The envoy also thanked Saudi Arabia for sending a ministerial delegation to Abuja to participate in the investiture ceremony of the new cabinet. The delegation held fruitful bilateral talks with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu.

The president reaffirmed Nigeria’s full backing for the Kingdom to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh and wished it success at the election coming up in December in Paris.

As regional leaders, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia share similar visions for peace in their respective environment.

“In this regard, we thank the Kingdom for its peace endeavours in Sudan. We are also thankful for the annual scholarship awards to Nigerians to study in Saudi universities, and wish to acknowledge with gratitude the numerous humanitarian interventions in Nigeria by the Kingdom through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center,” he said.

He also commended the Kingdom for its initiative to host the Saudi-Africa and Arab-Africa summits in Riyadh and for its faith in the continent.

“It is our hope that the upcoming historic fora would lay the foundation for a new era of partnership between the Kingdom and Africa, especially with the coming into force of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. The World Bank estimates that the AfCFTA will increase Africa’s income by $450 billion by 2035 and raise intra-African exports by more than 81 percent.”

This single market trade agreement will enable the African economy to reach the 29 trillion dollar mark by 2050, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

The function was attended by Riyadh Deputy Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz.


Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha

Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha
Updated 17 June 2024
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Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha

Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha
  • More than 850,000 pilgrims had performed Tawaf Al-Ifadah by Sunday night in Makkah
  • The stoning is among the final rites of the Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam

MINA: More than 850,000 pilgrims had performed Tawaf Al-Ifadah by Sunday night in Makkah, the ritual marking the final days of the Hajj and the start of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world.

The long day started with masses of pilgrims embarking on a symbolic stoning of the devil in Muzdalifah under the soaring summer heat. The stoning is among the final rites of the Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

It came a day after more than 1.8 million pilgrims congregated at a sacred hill, known as Mount Arafat, outside the holy city of Makkah, which Muslim pilgrims visit to perform the annual five-day rituals of Hajj. The Tawaf Al Ifadah is performed by Hajj pilgrims after the returning from Mina.

In a press conference on Sunday night, Col. Talal bin Abdulmohsen Al-Shalhoub, spokesperson of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, said that all pilgrims safely returned to their tents in Mina after departing from Muzdalifah.

He emphasized that security forces are continuing their operations to ensure the security and safety of the Guests of Allah throughout their stay in Mina, including their rituals at the Jamarat Bridge and within the Grand Mosque.“These services encompass crowd control and management on all routes connecting their accommodations in tents, the bridge, and the Grand Mosque, as well as during their tawaf. I urge all guests to adhere strictly to the instructions governing their ritual performances,” he stated.

Pilgrims cast stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, one of the last rites of Hajj, at the Jamarat in Mina, near the holy city of Makkah, on June 16, 2024. (SPA)

The spokesperson also advised pilgrims not to carry personal belongings when heading to the Jamarat Bridge or the Holy Mosque.

“Furthermore, I urge those intending to leave Mina on the second day of Tashreeq to follow the specified guidelines,” he added.

The days of Tashreeq are the three days that follow the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, Eid al-Adha, and are known for the ritual of stoning the three pillars in Mina, symbolizing the rejection of temptation and evil.

However, it is permissible for pilgrims to leave Makkah before sunset on the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah.Al-Shalhoub further reported that the 911 center in the Makkah region had received a total of 78,872 calls on the 10th of Thul Hijjah, covering security reports and service inquiries, all of which were promptly addressed.

He highlighted the close monitoring by Saudi leadership of all security sectors, noting continuous enhancements in their performance each year.“Our security personnel serve as exemplary role models in fulfilling their duties and facilitating the Hajj journey for pilgrims,” he concluded.

For his part, Ayedh Al-Ghuwainem, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj affairs said that the organizational plans and efforts were implemented in harmony with all the participating Hajj agencies.

“The stoning process occurred safely and tranquilly within just ten hours, achieving a compliance rate of 95 percent with the instructions,” he said.

He further added that the plans were designed to accommodate the diverse jurisprudential preferences of pilgrims using modern technology and preplanned schedules for grouping the pilgrims.Al-Ghuwainem stated that more than 800,000 pilgrims had arrived in Mina before dawn on Sunday, and by 8 a.m., all pilgrims had reached Mina.

On their arrival at the Jamarat Bridge, some 70 percent of the pilgrims used the first and fourth floors, while the rest of them went through the second and third floors, according to the deputy minister.

“Moreover, more than 850,000 worshippers have so far performed the Ifadah tawaf since midnight using shuttle bus services from and to the Grand Mosque,” he said.

The deputy minister added that the challenge they faced along with the concerned authorities was that most of the pilgrims preferred to go on foot, despite all the awareness campaigns and the availability of all means of transportation. He also urged the pilgrims to follow the instructions.


Saudi crown prince receives phone call from president of European Council

Charles Michel (L) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Charles Michel (L) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Updated 17 June 2024
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Saudi crown prince receives phone call from president of European Council

Charles Michel (L) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
  • They reviewed Saudi-EU cooperation and ways to strengthen in various areas

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has received telephone call from the president of the European Council Charles Michel on Sunday.

During the conversation, they reviewed Saudi-EU cooperation and ways to strengthen in various areas.

A number of regional and international issues were also discussed as well as efforts made to achieve security and stability in the region, SPA reported.

 


Saudi king, crown prince congratulate South African president on re-election

King Salman (R) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
King Salman (R) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Updated 17 June 2024
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Saudi king, crown prince congratulate South African president on re-election

King Salman (R) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent separate cables of congratulations on Sunday to South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa on his re-election for a new term.

King Salman expressed his sincere congratulations and best wishes for success to Ramaphosa and for the progress and prosperity of his country, SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia has enjoyed excellent relations with South Africa, which have been strengthened and developed in every aspect. 

 

 

 


Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha

Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha
Updated 8 min 3 sec ago
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Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha

Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha
  • Long day started with masses of pilgrims embarking on a symbolic stoning of the devil in Muzdalifah under the soaring summer heat

MINA: More than 850,000 pilgrims had performed Tawaf Al-Ifadah by Sunday night in Makkah, the ritual marking the final days of the Hajj and the start of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world.

The long day started with masses of pilgrims embarking on a symbolic stoning of the devil in Muzdalifah under the soaring summer heat. The stoning is among the final rites of the Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

It came a day after more than 1.8 million pilgrims congregated at a sacred hill, known as Mount Arafat, outside the holy city of Makkah, which Muslim pilgrims visit to perform the annual five-day rituals of Hajj. The Tawaf Al-Ifadah is performed by Hajj pilgrims after the returning from Mina.

In a press conference on Sunday night, Col. Talal bin Abdulmohsen Al-Shalhoub, spokesperson of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, said that all pilgrims safely returned to their tents in Mina after departing from Muzdalifah.

He emphasized that security forces are continuing their operations to ensure the security and safety of the Guests of Allah throughout their stay in Mina, including their rituals at the Jamarat Bridge and within the Grand Mosque.“These services encompass crowd control and management on all routes connecting their accommodations in tents, the bridge, and the Grand Mosque, as well as during their tawaf. I urge all guests to adhere strictly to the instructions governing their ritual performances,” he stated.

Pilgrims cast stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, one of the last rites of Hajj, at the Jamarat in Mina, near the holy city of Makkah, on June 16, 2024. (SPA)

The spokesperson also advised pilgrims not to carry personal belongings when heading to the Jamarat Bridge or the Holy Mosque.

“Furthermore, I urge those intending to leave Mina on the second day of Tashreeq to follow the specified guidelines,” he added.

The days of Tashreeq are the three days that follow the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, Eid al-Adha, and are known for the ritual of stoning the three pillars in Mina, symbolizing the rejection of temptation and evil.

However, it is permissible for pilgrims to leave Makkah before sunset on the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah.Al-Shalhoub further reported that the 911 center in the Makkah region had received a total of 78,872 calls on the 10th of Thul Hijjah, covering security reports and service inquiries, all of which were promptly addressed.

He highlighted the close monitoring by Saudi leadership of all security sectors, noting continuous enhancements in their performance each year.“Our security personnel serve as exemplary role models in fulfilling their duties and facilitating the Hajj journey for pilgrims,” he concluded.

For his part, Ayedh Al-Ghuwainem, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj affairs said that the organizational plans and efforts were implemented in harmony with all the participating Hajj agencies.

“The stoning process occurred safely and tranquilly within just ten hours, achieving a compliance rate of 95 percent with the instructions,” he said.

He further added that the plans were designed to accommodate the diverse jurisprudential preferences of pilgrims using modern technology and preplanned schedules for grouping the pilgrims.Al-Ghuwainem stated that more than 800,000 pilgrims had arrived in Mina before dawn on Sunday, and by 8 a.m., all pilgrims had reached Mina.

On their arrival at the Jamarat Bridge, some 70 percent of the pilgrims used the first and fourth floors, while the rest of them went through the second and third floors, according to the deputy minister.

“Moreover, more than 850,000 worshippers have so far performed the Ifadah tawaf since midnight using shuttle bus services from and to the Grand Mosque,” he said.

The deputy minister added that the challenge they faced along with the concerned authorities was that most of the pilgrims preferred to go on foot, despite all the awareness campaigns and the availability of all means of transportation. He also urged the pilgrims to follow the instructions.


Hajj pilgrims innovate for comfort amid Saudi Arabia’s efforts to beat the heat

Hajj pilgrims innovate for comfort amid Saudi Arabia’s efforts to beat the heat
Updated 16 June 2024
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Hajj pilgrims innovate for comfort amid Saudi Arabia’s efforts to beat the heat

Hajj pilgrims innovate for comfort amid Saudi Arabia’s efforts to beat the heat
  • Portable fans, personal water sprinklers among useful aids in scorching conditions

ARAFAT: Pilgrims have remained inventive in their quest for comfort, despite Saudi Arabia’s diligent efforts to mitigate the sweltering heat at the holy sites.

Alongside the Kingdom’s measures — which include extensive cooling systems — pilgrims are using rechargeable and battery-powered neck and handheld fans in their determination to offset the challenging conditions brought by the summer.

A sprinkler system comprising more than 8,000  water posts has been installed at the holy sites to mitigate the high temperatures. (SPA)

The portable fans provide much-needed relief by offering personal cooling in crowded areas where air circulation may be limited. They allow pilgrims to maintain comfort and focus on their religious duties without being overly affected by the extreme temperatures, thereby enhancing their overall pilgrimage experience.

According to online retail websites, the hands-free fans range from $4 to $8, while neck fans are between $32 to $60. However, some portable waist clip fans may cost from $30 to more than $110.

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230k

Managed by the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites, the sprinkler system at the holy sites disperses 230,000 cubic meters of water through a pipe network spanning over 190,000 meters.

In accordance with the Health Ministry’s warnings and instructions, many pilgrims are also being observed using small water sprinklers to cool themselves amid the high temperatures.

A sprinkler system comprising more than 8,000  water posts has been installed at the holy sites to mitigate the high temperatures. (SPA)

A report by the National Center for Meteorology noted that temperatures reached 46 C in Arafat on Saturday. In anticipation of such conditions, a massive water sprinkler system had been installed to reduce heat and refresh the air for pilgrims.

Saleh Al-Sufiyani, a Saudi pilgrim from Taif, said that he was aware of the weather conditions in Makkah and purchased a cooling gadget for SR150 (approximately $40).

Pilgrims are using rechargeable and battery-powered neck and handheld fans in their determination to offset the challenging conditions brought by the summer. (SPA)

He added: “The device provides direct airflow to my neck and face, which are sensitive areas for cooling the body. It helps me feel more comfortable as it reduces the sensation of heat.”

Maryam Jadallah, an Egyptian pilgrim, said that she had bought her portable battery-powered fan from Jeddah after learning about the high temperatures in Makkah.

Water is sprayed on Muslim pilgrims at the rocky hill known as the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabi, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP)

She added: “The fan operates quietly, allowing me to hear everything around me without disturbing my supplications.”

She stressed that cooling the body during hot weather can help prevent heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Volunteers spray water on Muslim pilgrims during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (AN photo by Huda Bashattah)

She said that despite having her fan with her, she often kept it off as fans and water sprinklers were installed everywhere to help the pilgrims stay cool.  

According to Kidana Development Company, a substantial sprinkler system comprising more than 8,000 water posts has been installed at the holy sites to mitigate the high temperatures.

Despite Saudi Arabia's diligent efforts to mitigate the sweltering heat in the holy sites, pilgrims remained inventive in their quest for comfort. (AN photo by Huda Bashattah)

Managed by the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites, the system disperses 230,000 cubic meters of water through a pipe network spanning over 190,000 meters. It will operate for 15 hours daily across a span of 13 days.

A recent study published by King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre revealed that heat-related deaths and strokes during Hajj have fallen by 47.6 and 74.6 percent respectively over a 40-year period because of the interventions by the Kingdom’s government.