2023 Hajj: Over 14,000 Pilgrims Airlifted as Plateau Officials ‘Missing’ Over Govt’s Failure to Remit Funds

Not less than 14,188 Nigerian pilgrims have so far been airlifted to Saudi Arabia in 34 flights within the last seven days of the 2023 Hajj exercise, National Hajj Commission NAHCON says.

Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara, the Assistant Director, Public Affairs in the commission disclosed this on Thursday. 

The airlifting operation was flagged off on May 25 with the intention of taking off 95,000 pilgrims from Nigeria in accordance with the seats allocated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia comprising 75,000 government pilgrims across the 36 states and Abuja, and 20,000 private pilgrims.

Hajiya Fatima noted that all the pilgrims from Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa states have so far been airlifted to the holy land.

“For Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa states, airlift of their pilgrims have been concluded while other states are recording steady progress as well. It would be recalled that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), had increased the number of its air carriers to five this year.”

She said a technical hitch has affected one of the commission’s contracted air carriers conveying Jigawa State pilgrims which was caused by turbulence as a result of heavy rainfall, forcing the aircraft to land temporarily at the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.

“While the occurrence caused an inevitable delay, no doubt, the Chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan assures Nigerian pilgrims, particularly those affected by the unavoidable development, that the situation has been well managed and will not derail the movement of pilgrims for the Hajj,” she added.

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Meanwhile, Plateau State pilgrims in the holy land said they are stranded as medical officials or guides were not with them.

According to Premium Times, the officials were forced to stay back because the immediate past administration did not remit funds for the state’s hajj operation before handing it over to the new administration.

It was gathered that absence of the officials could cause chaos among the state’s entourage, as pilgrims may not have access to quality healthcare, proper guidance, and even food.

Barrister Auwal Abdullahi, the Plateau State Hajj Commission’s Executive Secretary did not comment on the matter when contacted by WikkiTimes. He claimed he was holding a meeting and would revert.


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