Nigeria concludes airlifting of pilgrims back

By Fatima Hassan, Abuja 

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, is concluding the airlifting of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia back to Nigeria on Sunday with the last batch of Kano State pilgrims.

The development is coming eight days ahead of the October 17 deadline set by Saudi Arabia for the completion of Post hajj movement by all the participating countries in this year’s Holy pilgrimage.

Commending NAHCON for the achievement, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Hajj, Muhammed Abdulrahman Bijawi said that the good performance of the Nigerian contingent has contributed to the overall success recorded by his Ministry.

Bijawi therefore admonished the management of the commission not to rest on its oars until strive to make further improvements in the area of challenge.
NAHCON Chairman, Malam Abdullahi Mukhtar also expressed gratitude to all the stakeholders involved in the 2016 Hajj arrangement and coordination for making the exercise a big success story.

Without the support, encouragement and cooperation of all, the commission might not have recorded the resounding success as it did. I particularly acknowledged the contribution of the leadership of the state’s boards, the Nigerian Missions in Saudi Arabia, the Ulama team, members of the security, the Medical and Aviation teams as well as other government agencies including the leaders and members of the Nigerian community in Saudi Arabia,” Mukhtar said.

Glowing tributes

He further paid glowing tributes to the three participating Air carriers-Medview airline, Flynas and Max Airline for their performance which he described as ‘incredible and excellent.’

“The performance of the three airlines was marvellous and a thing of joy. Throughout the two legs of the exercise, none of them missed any of their allocated slots for any reason and our pilgrims didn’t spend more time than necessary while waiting for their flights as they were on hand to airlift them promptly,” Mukhtar explained.

Award of Excellence
Meanwhile, the Nigerian community in Saudi Arabia has bestowed an award of Excellence to NAHCON Chairman for the great improvement and success achieved during the 2016 Hajj.

In a letter signed by the community chairman, Abdallah Ibn Abdullah, the community praised Malam Abdullahi Mukthar for his innovative ideas which have tremendously uplifted the standard of Hajj affairs in Nigeria.

A total of 24 Nigerian pilgrims died during the pilgrimage which was a significant reduction in the number of mortality usually recorded at the previous exercises. Between 40 to 45 cases are usually recorded, most of which are attributed to Cardiovascular disease or causes.

Mercy Chukwudiebere