Posted by Garba Ahmed, Kaduna | 26 August 2015 | 5,797 times
856 intending Muslim pilgrims from Kaduna State have so far been airlifted in the third trip to Saudi Arabia from the Kaduna International Airport, Kaduna.
5,710 Kaduna pilgrims are expected to perform the 2015 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia.
The Publicity Officer of the Kaduna State Pilgrims Welfare Board, KSPWB, Mallam Yunusa Makarfi, while confirming the figure in a telephone interview on Tuesday, at the Airport, said two aircrafts were expected yesterday to airlift additional pilgrims from Igabi, Kudan and Kaduna South.
“Already, the fourth batch of about 470 pilgrims are already conveyed to the airport from Hajj Camp and are being processed for take-off. The second aircraft which will make the exercise the 5th so far, will take off this eveninginsha Allah and all the pilgrims will be flown directly to Medina,” he said.
However, checks by our correspondent who was at the airport indicated that, the two aircraft were not on ground as pilgrims line up their luggage and patiently squat under tree sheds for about two hours near the temporary departure wing of the airport as at 11am when this story was filed.
Some of the pilgrims have lamented being at the Hajj camp at Mando since on Sunday, before finally being brought to the airport yesterday.
“We hope we will not be spending another day or two at the airport, going by our two days exhaustive experience at the camp,” some of the pilgrims calmly said.
“No aircraft is on ground yet, but we are expecting them to come very soon today before we start the final screening and boarding,” an airport official told our correspondent.
Makarfi, however, called on intending pilgrims to exercise patience over slight delays experienced which according to him, “is due to new challenges of adopting to the new system of grouping pilgrims introduced to improve Hajj operations.”
Chairman/CEO NAHCON, Barr Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammed, during President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off of the 2015 airlift on Sunday in Kaduna, said six airline will airlift 66,000 pilgrims out of Nigeria to KSA and that a total of 13 aircrafts will be deployed for the airlift up to the period of the closure of the Jidda airports which is likely to be on the 17th of September.
NAHCON closed down the Jidda office and moved to Mecca and we will have another office in Medina to ensure close monitoring of the pilgrims at KSA.
“NAHCON will implement the principles of first in first out policy as enshrined under the leadership of his Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, long ago.
“Arafat likely to be on the 22nd of September and that Jidda Airport is likely to close on the 17th of September and the first flight into Nigeria will be on 27th of October,” the chairman disclosed.
He pleaded for the support, prayers and blessing of the traditional rulers for the success of the Hajj exercise.
“Hajj is such an important exercise that cannot be organised, cannot be delivered and implemented by one person or one agency. It needs the involvement of all stakeholders,” Mohammed added.
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