BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) will on Sunday conclude the transportation of 76,000 Nigerian pilgrims for this year’s hajj just as it announced the death of 24 pilgrims during the period.
In a statement by the Commission Information Officer, Mousa Ubadanwaki, said the Post-Hajj movement of pilgrims back to Nigeria will be concluded on Sunday October 9, with the airlift of 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 authorities for the completion of Post hajj movement by all the participating countries.
Similarly, the Commission has confirmed that a total of 24 Nigerian pilgrims died during the 2016 pilgrimage.
This was a significant reduction in the number of mortality usually recorded by the country during previous exercises where between 40 to 45 cases are recorded, most of which are attributed to cardio-vascular or other natural causes.
It was equally said that the reduction in mortality was also caused by the efficient harmonised health care delivery of the NAHCON medical team.
Meanwhile, NAHCON’s has received both national and international commendations from individuals, groups and organisations, which described the feat as unprecedented in the recent times.
The Saudi Arabia Deputy Minister of Hajj, Muhammed Bin Abdulrahman Bijawi, while paying ttributes to the NAHCON 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 advised the management of the commission not to rest on its oars but strive to make further improvements in future hajj exercise.
Elated by the encomiums showered on the Commission, its Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar thanked all the stakeholders in the 2016 Hajj exercise for making it a huge exercise.
He said that without the support, encouragement and cooperation of all ,the commission might not have recorded the success as it did.
Mukhtar singled out the contribution of the leadership of the state pilgrim welfare 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.
He equally thanked the three participating Air carriers, Medview Airline, Flynas and Max Airline,for their incredible and excellent performance.
In his words”the performance of the three airline 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” .
To show an appreciation for a job well done, the Nigerian community in Saudi Arabia bestowed an award of Excellence on NAHCON Chairman 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.
It would be recalled that the return journey of the 76,000 Nigerian pilgrims that performed this year’s Hajj commenced on Sept. 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.
Out of the 76,000 total pilgrims from Nigerians for 2016 hajj, the private operators had earlier transported back all their 10,000 international pilgrims between Sept. 17 to Sept. 23.
The inaugural flight of 2016 Hajj operations started in Sokoto state on Aug. 8.