From Mohammed Ibrahim, Kaduna
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) yesterday said over 25,000 Nigerian Pilgrims have already been Airlifted to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj exercise.
The commission said it is hoping to complete the pilgrims’ airlift to the Soudi Arabia by 3rd August as arranged.
The Head of Public Relations Officer, Fatima Sanda Usara disclosed this to Peoples Daily in Kaduna while reacting to the delay witnessed in airlifting Kaduna pilgrims on Saturday.
She also said that the delay was caused by unforeseen circumstances which are not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
Fatima also added that any delay witnessed in any state during airlift can affect the entire operation, which is what the commission always want to avoid.
“So far we have airlifted over 25,000 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia even though I didn’t check the last count but I am very sure over 25, 000 of our pilgrims are already in Saudi Arabia.
“On the delay witnessed in Kaduna during airlift, all I can tell you is that it is a chain effect and not only peculiar to Kaduna State alone, it is worldwide. The airline operators always caution against delay during airlift because that can affect entire operations.
“We have witnessed about six hours delay in Kano, another 6 hours in Kwara, total about 12 hours. So these unforeseen circumstances do affect the operations. It was not the fault of the pilgrims and it is also not the fault of NAHCON because it is not peculiar to Nigeria alone,” she said.
She pleaded with the pilgrims to exercise more patience as they will soon join other pilgrims in the Saudi Arabia for their rituals.
Addressing the State pilgrims over the delay witnessed in Kaduna, Director General, Bureau for Religious Affairs, Shaikh Jamilu Abubakar Albani said the issue is beyond Kaduna State as he assured the pilgrims that everything will be addressed.
He assured the pilgrims that the state government and other stakeholders are doing everything possible to ensure that all the state pilgrims are airlifted before the deadline.