• Max Air airlifts over 11,000 others
Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano and Laleye Dipo in Minna
A total of 1,151 Muslim faithful from Niger State have been airlifted from the Minna International Airport in the state capital to Mecca to perform this year’s holy pilgrimage.
This is coming as over 11, 000 intending pilgrims have been airlifted by Max Air to Saudi Arabia for 2018 Hajj exercise since the commencement of the airlifting on July 21.
The third batch of 555 pilgrims from Niger State made up of 349 males and 206 females departed the Minna airport last Monday.
A total of 3022 pilgrims from the state would perform this year’s hajj .
It was also learnt that over 16,000 pilgrims from across the country have been airlifted to Mecca since the exercise started about two weeks ago.
The state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, who officially flagged off the airlifting of intending pilgrims, cautioned officials of the state pilgrims welfare board against acts capable of jeopardising the welfare of the pilgrims and tarnishing the image of the state and the country while in the holy land.
The governor added that the welfare of the pilgrims should be of primary concern to the officials because most of them would be performing the Hajj for the first time.
He also told the intending pilgrims to be law-abiding and pray for the country while in Saudi Arabia, adding that anyone caught in acts that contravened the laws of the country or those of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would not be spared.
In a brief remark, the Director of Operations in charge of the state Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mallam Attahiru Dukku, said over 2,500 visas had already been secured for the intending pilgrims, assuring them that the remaining visas would be secured soon and therefore, asked those yet to get theirs not to panic.
A private airline Max Airline had been commissioned to airlift the intending pilgrims in the state.
In a related development, over 11, 000 intending pilgrims have been airlifted to Saudi Arabia from Kano State for 2018 Hajj exercise.
The spokesman of the Max Airline, Alhaji Ibrahim Dahiru, told THISDAY in Kano yesterday that the pilgrims were transported to the holy land through various airports across the country in 20 flights.
Dahiru explained that the Airline had completed arrangement to commence airlifting of the intending pilgrims for Zamfara and Bauchi States.
“Pilgrims from Zamfara and Bauchi states are on line now as we have concluded arrangement to commence their airlift to the Holy land.
According to him, the pilgrims were from Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Adamawa, Niger, Kwara, Kogi and Nasarawa States.
“We are using two Boeing 747 aircraft for the Hajj operation
The airline’s spokesman further said the airline had also begun preparation for airlift of pilgrims from Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Plateau and Benue States before the end of the week.
He assured all intending pilgrims on ground that the airline would transport them to the Holy land before the deadline for the closure of the King Abdul’aziz International Airport Jeddah.