A week after the commencement of the airlift of Nigeria Pilgrim to Saudi Arabia for the 2023 Hajj, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said that the exercise is in steady progress.
The assurance is coming after the Max Air plane conveying Jigawa Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia embarked on emergency landing in Kano.
The aircraft which had on board 554 pilgrims and 21 crew members had departed the Dutse International Airport at exactly 4:45 pm on Wednesday. It however diverted to the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, on emergency landing, few minutes after take-off.
NAHCON stated that with over 33 flights so far recorded, about 14,000 Nigerian pilgrims are already in Medinah.
In a statement by assistant director, public affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, Thursday, the commission said, “for Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa states, airlift of their pilgrims have been concluded while other states are recording steady progress as well.
NAHCON had before the commencement of the airlift increased the number of its air carriers to 5.”
However, NAHCON acknowledged that, “a technical hitch affected one of the commission’s contracted air carriers conveying Jigawa state pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the 2023 Hajj. The hitch, which was caused by uncontrollable natural circumstances, turbulence as a result of heavy rainfall, forced the aircraft to land temporarily in the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.”
The statement reads in part: “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.
“At the time of writing this release, NAHCON had already concluded arrangements for rescue operations for any delayed or canceled flight that would hinder the smooth transportation of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
“So far, close to 14,000 pilgrims are safely in Madinah and the number of flights transporting pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will also increase in a couple of days.”