The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria on Sunday night announced that the airlift of Nigerian pilgrims back to home from Saudi Arabia, where they partook in this year’s Hajj would begin on July 4.
The Head of Aviation Matters of NAHCON, Engineer Mohammed Goni Sanda, made the announcement at the post-Arafah meeting held in Makkah.
According to Engr. Sanda, pilgrims would be airlifted back home in the order they were airlifted to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the hajj.
He said the “criteria of first in, first out” would be strictly adhered to during the evacuation exercise.
The Head of Aviation Matters said all the air carriers were ready for the evacuation.
Sanda, however, said that the Saudi Arabia authorities didn’t allow air carriers to airlift pilgrims to their maximum capacity because of heavy traffic at the airport.
He said: “We have over two million pilgrims.
- Artisan jailed six months for stealing seasoning, soaps
- Alleged treason: Absence of judge stalls Sowore’s case
- Kogi 2023: Alleged attack on Tribunal Secretary: SDP exposing own atrocities — APC
- Police arraign man, 47, for alleged breach of trust
- New contributions from expatriates to mitigate debt, bolster infrastructure — Source
“All of them want to go back to their countries.
“Therefore, the airlifts have to be staggered to accommodate all.”
Engr. Sanda said Nigeria couldn’t be given six slots a day to airlift the pilgrims.
He said: “This is just for this week and next week.
“After next week, all our air carriers are free to fly at maximum capacity.”
He stated further that Saudi Arabia had just introduced “movement back to Nigeria through Madinah.”
According to him, most of the Nigerian pilgrims came into Saudi Arabia through Madinah, taking them back to Madinah, while they could just return home via Jeddah, would be stressful.
He promised to contact necessary Saudi authorities to get the matter resolved.
On when each pilgrim would go back to Nigeria, Engr. Sanda said: “Ask yourself when did l come to Saudi Arabia?
“Have l stayed up to 40 days?
“Then minus three days or plus three days from 40 days, you will arrive at the answer.”
Speaking further, the Head of Aviation Matters said zamzam water had already been taken to Nigeria waiting for collection by the pilgrims on arrival.