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Hajj: All pilgrims ‘ll be airlifted before June 10, NAHCON assures



Hajj pilgrims

…. Says 37,202 already in Saudi Arabia

As the strike embarked upon over minimum wage by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC is causing apprehension among some concerned pilgrims and other Muslims, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON has assured that it “will not affect the Hajj airlift.”

Specifically, the commission said by its projection, all pilgrims will be transported to Saudi Arabia before June 10, 2024.

Giving updates on the airlifts in a statement issued on Monday, NAHCON’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara, said no fewer than 37,102 Nigerian pilgrims, excluding the officials and stakeholders involved in Hajj operations, have been airlifted to Saudi Arabia for this year’s holy pilgrimage as at Day 19 on Sunday.

She, however, added that about 13, 176 pilgrims are yet to be airlifted, but assured that “this number would have reduced before the end of today (Monday).”

The statement reads: “The Hajj flights have been departing as planned beginning with the initial
three flights per day from day of the inaugural flight. This gradually increased to a maximum of six flights daily.

“Currently, NAHCON runs a minimum of four flights daily to a maximum of six flights depending on the schedule.

“About 13, 176 pilgrims are yet to be
airlifted and this number would have reduced before the end of today.

“A breakdown of the states yet to conclude the airlift shows one more flight each remaining from the following locations: Kaduna, Gombe, Borno, Zamfara, Adamawa, Kebbi, and FCT with 33 pilgrims on ground.

“All South-South states will be airlifted in one flight with seats residue yet.

“Taraba with a little over 1,000 pilgrims is yet to commence airlift as scheduled while Kwara, Jigawa, Niger and Sokoto are continuing with airlift of their pilgrims steadily on course.

“As approved in the airlift agreement, all carriers deployed the agreed number of aircraft for the exercise. Max Air has provided two operational aircraft with one available as standby.”

The inaugural flight began on May 15 at the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, SABIA in Birnin-Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital with the airlift of pilgrims from Kebbi, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

Over 64, 000 Nigerian pilgrims are expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia through Prince Mohammed bin AbdulAziz International Airport, Madinah and King AbdulAziz International Airport, Jedda, and spend four days in Madinah before proceeding to Makkah for their Hajj and Umrah rites.