From Umar Dankano, Yola
The Acting Governor of Adamawa state, Umaru Fintiri has condemned the unruly behaviour of some of the state’s pilgrims who held a plane hostage in Kano. Speaking through a statement by his principal special assistant (Media), Babayola Muhammadu Toungo, Fintiri said the behaviour was uncalled for because the pilgrims had been “earlier briefed on the travel arrangement and the efforts the government is making in collaboration with the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) to ensure that no pilgrim from Adamawa State is left behind.”
The statement said, “The Adamawa state government wants to express its displeasure with the unruly behaviour of some of its intending pilgrims who held hostage a plane at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
“Much as the government sympathises with the plight of the pilgrims, it finds it reprehensible for those embarking on a spiritual journey to behave in a manner comparable to children. The pilgrims who held the plane hostage in Kano were earlier briefed on the travel arrangement and the efforts the government is making in collaboration with the NAHCON to ensure that no pilgrim from Adamawa state is left behind.
“Those taken to Kano were informed that they would be airlifted from the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia via a different aircraft from the one that ferried them from Yola to Kano. And that the plane that took them to Kano was to come back to Yola and pick about five hundred and eighty passengers to Jeddah. This was explained to them in no uncertain words. “Yola International Airport has no landing capability for a plane the size of the Boeing 747 in the night and therefore the need for the plane that went to Kano to be back in the day. By holding the aircraft hostage in Kano, the pilgrims have unwittingly distorted a carefully reworked schedule that shall ensure that all of them are airlifted before the closure of Saudi airspace.
Continuing, Fintiri said, “Though government is still working round the clock to make sure all the intending pilgrims are airlifted, government expresses its disappointment in the strongest terms possible of the behaviour of our pilgrims. Pilgrimage is supposed to be a spiritual journey and one is expected to be spiritually ready for such a trip. A pilgrim is supposed to be an epitome of piety, comportment and orderliness but not certainly what was displayed in Kano. As ambassadors of Adamawa state, all are expected to be embodiment of decency and decorum.
The acting governor however appealed “to all our intending pilgrims to be law abiding both here and in Saudi Arabia as we again reassure them all will be airlifted.”