The last batch of pilgrims from Ogun State who were stranded at the Lagos Hajj camp have been rescued by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), barely a day after Muslim News’ exclusive report on their predicament.
Muslim News had earlier reported how the Ogun State pilgrims, numbering 151, had been stranded at the Lagos Hajj camp since Saturday evening due to faulty aircraft issues by the official Hajj carrier, MedView.
Our correspondent, who was at the Hajj camp today (Wednesday) revealed that the Commission swiftly swung into action and arranged an alternative aircraft, Flynas Air owned by a Saudi businessman, Bander Al-Mohanna for the pilgrims.
The Ogun pilgrims were paired together with no fewer than 394 members of the Nigerian Armed Forces who are also performing the 2019 Hajj in the Holy Land.
“What a relief!”, was the statement from one of the pilgrims, who spoke with Muslim News with excitement.
Imam Qasim Akinsola said, “Alhamdulillah. On behalf of the pilgrims, we’re grateful to NAHCON for coming to our rescue. The Commissioner for Operations, NAHCON, Mr AbduLLah Modibo Saleh was with us since yesterday. We also appreciate Muslim News for giving us the voice.”
As at the time of filing this report this evening, 6:30pm (Nigerian time), a head count of all the intending pilgrims is ongoing and the aircraft will be headed soon to Medinah, Saudi Arabia.
All efforts to speak with the management of MedView Airlines, the official Hajj carrier initially scheduled to airlift the last batch of Ogun State pilgrims proved abortive. Also, the Head of Public Affairs, NAHCON, Fatima Sanda Usara did not respond to our enquiries.
It would be recalled that the airline had successfully transported no fewer than 550 pilgrims from Ogun State to the Holy Land. It was expected to airlift the last batch of 151 pilgrims on Saturday evening before its aircraft reportedly developed a fault.
Correction: In our previous report, we wrote that the stranded pilgrims are 150 in number. Findings have since revealed that they are 151. The numerical error is regretted.