Nigerians to begin return journey from Saudi Arabia tomorrow
• Hajj 2016 hosts 1.8 million pilgrims.
Families and friends of the 2016 Hajj pilgrims are already longing to welcome their loved ones as indications emerged that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON), will begin the airlift of Nigerian pilgrims from Saudi Arabia from tomorrow.
The Commissioner in charge of Operations at the Commission, Abdullahi Saleh, said the return journey would commence with the airlift of pilgrims from Kwara and Kogi states.
He said: “Airport will be open on 17th September for airlift. We have got readiness on the part of at least one airline which is FlyNas airline.
“We have got schedule of FlyNas as at today while others of Med-view and MaxAir are to follow suit soon.
“We call on state leadership for collaboration, dialogue and consultation with operators. They should exercise patience and cooperate with the operators,” he said.
Nigeria for the first time concluded the airlift of all pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, five days before the Kingdoms airspace are closed for hajj operations.
Meanwhile, the General Authority for Statistics in Saudi Arabia said that this year’s Hajj has recorded a total of 1,862,909 pilgrims, of whom 1,325,372 pilgrims came from outside Saudi Arabia, while the pilgrims from within are 537,537.
The non-Saudi pilgrims are 1,692,417 pilgrims, while the Saudi pilgrims are 170,492.
Male pilgrims made up of 1,082,228 persons while the total female pilgrims reached 780,681 persons, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Hajj sermon 2016 was delivered by Imam-e-Kaaba Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais in place of Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh who is reportedly facing health issues.
Imam-e-Kaaba in his sermon delinked Islam and terrorism and stressed that Islam is a religion of peace.
Imam-e-Kaaba urged Muslims around the globe to come together to follow the message of peace given by Islam and shun violence unequivocally.
He realized that Muslim Ummah is facing difficult times currently which can be improved only through unity among the followers of Islam. He said that gathering of Muslims for Hajj also symbolized a message of unity, which needs to be followed.
Imam-e-Kaaba in his address asked the followers of Islam to follow the teachings of Quran and the Sunnah of Holy Prophet (PBUH) in its entirety.