No fewer than 151 intending pilgrims for the 2019 Hajj in Saudi Arabia have been stranded for three days at the Hajj Camp in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
The pilgrims from Ogun State arrived Lagos on Saturday evening with high expectations of air lifting and joining the other 550 pilgrims from the state, who had earlier been transported to Saudi Arabia.
Muslim News learnt that their hopes were dashed when the official carrier, Med-View Airlines could not take off as a result of a faulty aircraft.
Investigations revealed that all efforts to get an alternative carrier proved abortive, as there are no available aircrafts to airlift the pilgrims, the last batch from Ogun State to embark on the journey to the Holy Land.
One of the pilgrims, Ustadh Qasim Akinsola told Muslim News that the delay was caused by insufficient aircrafts.
Ustadh Akinsola, the Chief Imam of Igbele Ajana Central Mosque, Attan-Otta, said “there are close to 150 pilgrims from across Ogun State here and we are being told there are insufficient aircrafts to airlift us. Initially, we were booked with MedView Airlines reportedly owned by one Mr Bankole. The aircraft developed a fault on Saturday, which was the day we arrived Hajj Camp.”
Another pilgrim, who identified himself as Mallam Al-Ameen, described the harrowing and unfavourable experience, stressing that the costs of items in the camp are on the high side, including food and other daily needs.
Some pilgrims have been calling their relatives to bring food for them, while others begged their families for money. Many pilgrims are only with their BTAs, which is in dollars, Muslim News learnt.
“This issue is serious and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. We have spent 4 nights here at the Hajj Camp already, while we are supposed to be in Medinah by now. Government needs to help us”, a female pilgrim, Hajia Kafilah lamented.
Worried about the delay and the conditions of the pilgrims, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Alhaja Noimot Salako-Oyedele visited the Hajj Camp in Lagos yesterday, where she appealed to the pilgrims.
She said the Ogun State government is making frantic efforts to ensure the pilgrims’ prompt airlift to the holy land.
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