Monday, September 29, 2014 11:02 am
Ahead of Monday’s closure of Saudi Arabia borders for pilgrims, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Sunday said it has successfully completed the airlift of all Nigerian pilgrims.
The Commission’s spokesperson, Malam Uba Mana, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday night.
Uba said that the last batch of 1,000 pilgrims was conveyed from Lagos and Kaduna centres.
He said that by midnight of Sunday all the 76,000 pilgrims from Nigeria, including 66,000 from various state pilgrims welfare boards and 10,000 from private operators, had been transported safely to Saudi Arabia for the exercise.
The Saudi authority had announced that it will close all its borders by midnight of Sept. 29, while Arafat would be observed on Friday Oct. 3.
Mana said all the pilgrims are in high spirit and getting ready for the Hajj rites with the movement to Muna in preparation for Arafat on Friday.
He also said no casualty or death of has been recorded as the pilgrims were in good state of health.
The spokesman said about 70 per cent of the pilgrims was transported directly from Nigeria to Madinah, this year, as against the previous practice of taking the pilgrims to Jeddah.
NAN also reports that this year’s airlift of pilgrims, which commenced on Sept. 6 in Dutse International Airport, ended in Kaduna on Sunday Sept. 29.
A total of 144 flights took the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.