Contrary to reports in The Guardian newspaper and some blogs that over 15,000 Nigerian pilgrims are “stranded”, Muslim News can authoritatively confirm the report to be false.
Checks by our Correspondent who is currently in Saudi Arabia showed that the affected Nigerian pilgrims are 3,000 and not 15,000 as claimed by the media.
Further findings showed that NAHCON, the agency in charge of Hajj operations in Nigeria is doing everything possible to ensure that the remaining 3000 are airlifted on or before midnight of Wednesday (early morning of Thursday), the new deadline for closure of Saudi Arabia’s airspace.
Out of the 43,008 slots allocated to Nigeria by the Saudi Arabian authorities, NAHCON distributed 9,032 slots to tour operators leaving the Commission with 33,976.
As at exactly 10:00hrs on Wednesday, July 6, MAXAIR flight NGL1066 departed Maiduguri, northeastern region of Nigeria to Jeddah with 117 Borno Pilgrims and 13 Officials, taking the total figure to 29,475 of intending pilgrims airlifted and total number of flights to 75.
“We have just above 3,000 intending pilgrims left in Kano and Abuja. A flight just departed Maiduguri this morning to begin the airlifting.
“Another one is currently in Abuja to airlift about 500 pilgrims. We are expecting about 6 flights to clear and mop up the operations. There is no qualms. All the remaining will be airlifted,” a top official with the agency told Muslim News on Wednesday.
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