Hajj: No registered pilgrim will be left in Nigeria — NAHCON


By SALISU SANI-IDRIS

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has assured that no registered pilgrim for 2022 Hajj will be left in Nigeria at the end of deadline for transportation of pilgrims.

The Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, gave the assurance at a news briefing on the update of the ongoing 2022 Hajj operation, on Thursday in Abuja.

Hassan said that the commission would complete the transportation of the majority of pilgrims on July 3, and finalise it by July 4, n the event of any other person left.

He debunked insinuations in some quarters that not all Nigerian pilgrims would be transported to Saudi Arabia before the deadline for the closure of the Saudi airport.

“As you are aware, we contracted an agreement with three airlines namely; Max Air, Azman Air and Flynas, a Saudi Arabia designated Airline.

“When the operation started, our counterpart from states was actually not fully prepared probably because of shortness of the notice, so the flights were fluctuating.

“The airlines were ready but the pilgrims were actually not ready, however, in the last few days, we have overcome that.

“So, by our own arrangements, we expect to finish majority of the flight by July 3, and clean up in the event any other persons by July 4,” he said.

The NAHCON boss revealed that the commission had transported about 22,000 Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, adding that the commission was hopefully concluding before the deadline set by Saudi authorities.

“In the event there are few ones who are just getting ready, the totality of Nigerian pilgrims will be in Saudi Arabia by July 4.

“I may wait till July 5 to be sure that no registered pilgrim will be left in Nigeria.

“As you are fully aware, this year’s Hajj is an emergency one in the sense that it took Saudi Arabia unlike the previous times, to give us short notice to start preparations.

“Shortly, few weeks before the month of Ramadan, it was when the Saudi Arabian authority announced that there will be hajj for the International pilgrims,” he said.

According to him, it also took them a while before they informed us of what will be the operational framework for conducting this year’s hajj.

“Hitherto, we used to start Hajj preparations by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to lead Nigerian delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“But I guess because of time such formality was dispensed. Essentially, most of the preparations this year were carried out through the e-Track.

“e-Track is an online transactions and that is what we did for most transactions,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 43,000 Nigerian pilgrims registered through 36 states.

The Federal Capital Territory Pilgrims welfare boards and licensed tour operators are expected to partake in this year’s hajj in Saudi Arabia. (NAN)

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