The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has concluded the inbound flights of Nigerian pilgrims with 298 from Kaduna State, one from Bauchi State and 16 officials of the commission.
The Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, made this known in a statement by the commission’s Deputy Director, Information and Publication, Malam Mousa Ubandawaki, on Monday.
Hassan, while addressing the last set of Nigerian lilgrims at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, said that the conclusion of the transportation of the Nigerian pilgrims was coming four days ahead of the deadline fixed by the commission.
The chairman recalled that August 3 was initially fixed as the final day of operation, but the injection of an additional aircraft by Max Air and Flynas had helped to ease the tension and increased the tempo of the operation.
According to him, the operation of the 183rd shuttle flight brought to an end, the 2023 hajj operations.
Hassan said: ” The airlift today marks the conclusion of the in-bound flights of Nigerian pilgrims with the final transportation of 298 Kaduna pilgrims, one Bauchi State pilgrim and 16 officials by Azman Airlines.
” The second phase of the operation which began on July 4th, after the completion of the Hajj rites with the transportation of Sokoto State pilgrims by Flynas was a rollercoaster of challenges and emotions.
“This was amplified by the non-provision of slots to the Nigerian Carriers by the Saudi’s General Authority on Civil Aviation (GACA).
” But, after the resolution of the impasse following the intervention of the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, it has been a smooth-sailing.”He commended Nigerians for their tremendous support to the commission during the just-concluded haji operation.
Hassan acknowledged the assistance of President Bola Tinubu and Vice President, Kashim Shettima to the successful organisation of the 2023 Hajj.
The chairman said that the intervention of Shettima enabled the commission to transfer its trapped funds to Saudi Arabia and also persuaded the General Authority on Civil Aviation (GACA) to allocate more slots to Nigerian airlines.
” I want to sincerely express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the Nigerian Government, especially, the President and Vice President for their timely intervention and support all through this operations.
” Their invaluable support really contributed in no mean term to achieve today’s success story,” he said. (NAN)
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