The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has recorded the successful airlifting of 3,133 pilgrims to Nigeria within three days, after the completion of the 2022 Hajj rites.
The Commission commenced airlifting of Nigerian pilgrims, who are currently back in the country, on July 15 with 7 flights recorded so far following the patterns they arrived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The airlifted pilgrims, according to a statement issued on Monday by the Commission’s Acting Director, Public Affairs, Hajiya Fatima Usara Sanda, are not inclusive of Private Tour Operators’ pilgrims.
The statement reads “Airlifting started on July 15 and within three days, a total 3,133 state pilgrims are currently back to the country.
“Return journey to Nigeria has so far recorded seven trips successfully. FlyNas has an edge over the other carriers being a Saudi-based airline and therefore secured takeoff slots earlier than the other two. So far, Max Air has recorded two flights while FlyNas is preparing for its sixth leg with Lagos pilgrims. This number is not inclusive of Private Tour Operators’ clients.
“Please note that the number of pilgrims being transported back to Nigeria follows the same pattern of their arrival into the Kingdom for symmetry. To wit, for a flight that transported 515 pilgrims during the outbound trip, the same number of slots is reserved for them on the corresponding inbound flight to Nigeria. The other seats are utilized by the airlines as agreed. Therefore, NAHCON ensures that the same number of pilgrims board the aircraft for dispatch back home,” the report read in part.
The Commission further lauded the State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards for the proper and adequate welfare of the pilgrims, noting the failure of a service provider to discharge its duties should be reported.
NAHCON, the body in charge of Hajj operators in Nigeria, also urged pilgrims not to insert bottles of Zam-Zam water in their luggage, be it hand luggage or check-in bags. This is to avoid their cases being opened in order to remove the bottles at baggage screening centers.
The body also encouraged pilgrims’ officials to guide their pilgrims on the matter accordingly.
“Relatedly, pilgrims are urged not to insert bottles of Zam-zam water in their luggage, be it hand luggage or check-in bags. This is to avoid their cases being opened to remove the bottles at baggage screening centres. Please, pilgrims should take note and act accordingly. Pilgrims’ officials are encouraged to guide their pilgrims on the matter accordingly.”
The Commission also appreciated State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards/Agencies/Commissions serving standard meals to their pilgrims as agreed.
“As stakeholders all working towards the satisfaction of the pilgrims, the Commission identifies with most of the positive reports it is receiving from its staff monitoring the kitchens.
“Feeding in Makkah is the responsibility of the states’ boards, the Commission encourages all authorities to maintain the agreed standard for the satisfaction of pilgrims who have paid for these services. Any service provider that fails to discharge his responsibility as contracted should be reported to the Commission for necessary action, please,” he added.
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