The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has airlifted over 17,000 Nigerian pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The figure included the airlift, in the early hours of Friday, of 520 pilgrims and 10 officials from Katsina State.
This is coming just as the Commission has concluded arrangements to move the first batch of the pilgrims in Madinah to Makkah this Friday in continuation of this year’s hajj rites.
NAHCON in a statement signed by an Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, said the Commission had concluded the airlift of pilgrims from Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau States.
Usara stated further that NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, assured all intending pilgrims that there were backup plans to address promptly unforeseen circumstances, adding: “All intending pilgrims should be in a state of readiness at all times for imminent departure to Saudi Arabia.”
Meanwhile, 472 Nigerian pilgrims from Nasarawa State will leave Madinah for Makkah this Friday.
The pilgrims, who have been in Madinah since their arrival in Saudi Arabia on May 25, 2023, were the first batch airlifted to Saudi Arabia aboard Max Air.
According to NAHCON, since the pilgrims’ arrival in Madinah, they had observed prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque, the second holiest mosque, and visited many Islamic historical sites, including the battlefield of Uhud.
It would be recalled that the pilgrims were received in Saudi Arabia at a symbolic ceremony organised by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
The ceremony was attended by the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, His Excellency, Ambassador Yahaya Lawal, the Consul-General and other members of the Diplomatic Corps.