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Despite challenges, NAHCON reiterates commitment to pilgrims’ airlift

By Shakirah Adunola
04 July 2022   |   3:55 am
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has explained the reasons it has been having challenges in airlifting pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the 2022 Hajj.

[FILES] Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, addressing pressmen during 2022 inaugural flight in Maiduguri

National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has explained the reasons it has been having challenges in airlifting pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the 2022 Hajj.

In a statement, NAHCON Assistant Director (Information and Publication), Alhaji Mousa Ubandawaki, said the Saudi Arabian government only gave the nod for the Hajj in mid-March, when many people had almost given up hope of performing the exercise.

Ubandawaki maintained that the commission is irrevocably committed to re-evaluating processes on pilgrims’ airlift and would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that no Nigerian is left behind.

He said: “Like every Hajj, which usually comes with unique challenges, the ongoing exercise has been faced with delayed airlift, cancellation, delay in issuance of visa for intending pilgrims and other issues.

“Indeed, fumes from the paint in the house are pretty strong. Undeniably, there are many chefs in the kitchen, especially from the media. Intending pilgrims, their relations and the public, in spite of assurances and re-assurances, have continued to doubt the capacity and assurances of the commission to airlift all registered Nigerian pilgrims.

“While we hasten to affirm that as an institution that is managing affairs of people and an organisation of diverse backgrounds, we cannot embark on any sense of self-righteousness in our approach. But we learn and evolve within the frames of best practices every single day.

“As such, we recognise that there will always be space for improvement. We have engaged and achieved mutual agreement between the Saudi authorities and some of the airlines for quick intervention and injection of three more aircrafts to the fleet, which will translate into many more evacuations that will benefit the pilgrims.”

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