NAHCON to Complete Pilgrims Airlift Sunday

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Jameelah Sanda

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) will conclude the Post-Hajj movement of pilgrims to Nigeria today (Sunday), with the airlift of the last batch of Kano pilgrims by Max Air Limited into the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) Kano.

The development is coming eight days ahead of the official deadline of October 17 set by Saudi Arabia for the completion of post hajj movement by all the participating countries in this year’s holy pilgrimage.

The return journey of the 66,000 Nigerian pilgrims that performed this year’s holy pilgrimage commenced on September 17, after the completion of 5-day Hajj rites with the airlift of Kogi, Kwara and Oyo pilgrims by Flynas and Max airlines from the King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) Jeddah.

The commission’s giant stride has received both national and international commendation from individual, groups and organizations which described the feat as unprecedented in the recent times.

The Saudi Arabia Deputy Minister of Hajj, Muhammed Bin Abdulrahman Bijawi, while paying tribute to NAHCON for the achievement, expressed satisfaction over the various arrangements made by the commission throughout the Hajj exercise.

He said that the good performance of the Nigerian contingent has contributed in no small way to the overall success recorded by the Ministry and therefore admonished the management of the commission not to rest on its oars but strive to make further improvements in the area of challenge.

Meanwhile, the NAHCON Chairman/CEO, Barr Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammed, has expressed gratitude to all the stakeholders involved in the 2016 Hajj arrangement and coordination for making the exercise a big success story.

He stated that without the support, encouragement and cooperation of all, the commission might not have recorded the resounding success as it did. He particularly acknowledged the contribution of the leadership of the states’ boards, the Nigerian Missions in Saudi Arabia, the Ulama team, members of the security, the medical and aviation teams as well as other government agencies, including the leaders and members of the Nigerian community in Saudi Arabia.

Barr. Abdullahi further paid glowing tributes to the three participating Air carriers – Medview airline, Flynas and Max Airline – for their performance which he described as incredible and excellent.

In his words, “the performance of the three airlines was marvelous and a thing of joy. Throughout the two legs of the exercise, none of them missed any of their allocated slots for any reason and our pilgrims didn’t spend more time than necessary while waiting for their flights as they were on hand to airlift them promptly.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian community in Saudi Arabia has bestowed an Award of Excellence on the Chairman/CEO for the great improvement and success achieved during the 2016 Hajj.
In a letter of award signed by the community Chairman, Abdallah Ibn Abdullah, the association praised the NAHCON boss for his innovative ideas which have tremendously uplift the standard of Hajj affairs in Nigeria.

A total of 24 Nigerian pilgrims died during the pilgrimage which was a significant reduction in the number of mortality usually recorded by the country during previous exercises where between 40 to 45 cases were recorded, most of which were attributed to cardiovascular disease or causes.