From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Respite came the way of hundreds of Nigerian pilgrims who are still left stranded in Saudi Arabia as the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON yesterday dole out 100 Saudi Riyadh, the equivalent of N10, 000 each as monetary assistance as parts of measures to ease their ordeal in the holy land.
The pilgrims, who are clients of various travel agencies approved by NAHCON our reporter gathered were billed to be flown by a Nigerian airline but were still awaiting the aircraft as at the time of filling this report.
On Saturday night, the pilgrims were said to have stormed the Mecca office of NAHCON where they lamented running out of fund to purchase basic necessities and requested assistance from the commission.
Reports of pilgrims resorting to begging on the streets of Mecca in order to feed has become commonplace in recent days just as tour operators and the airline bickers over how to airlift them back to Nigeria.
However, NAHCON Commissioner for Operations, Alhaji Abdullahi Modibbo Saleh along senior management staff of the Commission visited the affected pilgrims and seek for their understanding just as the commission said it is making efforts to airlift them should the airline failed them.
Saleh, who pacify the aggrieved Nigerians at 12 midnight on Saturday Nigeria time promised NAHCON will be responsible for the return flight should the carrier failed to evacuate them by Monday.
Our reporter gathered that staff of the account department at the NAHCON headquarters in Mecca were seen distributing the funds to affected pilgrims in the wee hours of Monday (yesterday) following the directives of the NAHCON Chairman, Mr. Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad.