The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), on Saturday concluded the transportation of the 2018 intending pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Alhaji Abdullahi Modibbo, NAHCON’s Commissioner in charge of Operation, disclosed this while addressing newsmen at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, on Saturday before he departed to Saudi Arabia.
He said that the commission had successfully transported over 40,000 Nigerian Pilgrims, who registered through States Pilgrims Welfare Board, Agencies and Commissions.
Modibbo also said that about 19, 000 Nigerian pilgrims, who registered through the Private Tour Operators, were also transported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform the religious obligations.
“So far pilgrims of State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Agencies and Commissions are up to 40, 000 and those who registered through Tour Operators are almost 19, 000, if you put the figures together you are talking of about 60, 000 pilgrims.
“This is the last flight for the Nigerian pilgrims and NAHCON officials.
“Closure of Jeddah International Airport officially will be around midnight but that does not mean it is completely close, some flights with special permission can enter.
“NAHCON is desirous to ensure that all intending pilgrims that registered for this year’s Hajj is transported to Saudi Arabia and we have made a request to the Saudi Authority which they graciously approved,” Modibbo said.
He said that the commission had made concerted efforts to ensure timely transportation of pilgrims but late registration by some pilgrims hindered the efforts of the commission to conclude transportation of pilgrims earlier than now.
The commissioner, however, said that like in every socio-economic activity, there was always room for improvement.
He solicited for the cooperation of all stakeholders in hajj management to support the commission to discharge its responsibilities diligently.
Modibbo disclosed that the return flight for Nigerian pilgrims was expected to start anytime from Aug. 27 when the Saudi Arabian Airports would be opened.
“The Airlines will give us their schedule in accordance with the Saudi Arabian Civil Aviation Authority’s rules,” he said.