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2023 Hajj: Despite 12 Days Remaining Until Saudi Arabia Airspace Will Be Closed, No One Will Be Left Behind – NAHCON

2023 Hajj: Despite 12 Days Remaining Until Saudi Arabia Airspace Will Be Closed, No One Will Be Left Behind – NAHCON

By Abdullahi Ahmad Bamalli

Twelve days remaining until Saudi Arabian airspace will be closed for the 2023 hajj operations, the national hajj commission of nigeria (NAHCON) has calmed the commotion of expecting Nigerian pilgrims, saying no one will be left behind in the country.

During briefing journalists on the progress of the airlift operations to the Holy Land, the commission chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, gave the assurance in Abuja.

Hassan, who was represented by the Commissioner in charge of Planning, Research, Statistics, Information and Library Services, Prince Suleiman Momoh, said so far the commission has processed 73,310 visas out of the 75,000 slots allocated to the States of the Federation for the 2023 Hajj exercise.

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He added that out of 73,310 visas secured,  48,597 intending pilgrims have been transported to the Holy Land as at Wednesday, June 14, 2023, for the spiritual exercise since the commencement of airlift operations on Thursday, May 25, in spite of the  challenges encountered.

“There are certain challenges here due to the mechanical devices that can break down anytime, but we are proactive to ensure that whatever situation occurs, we will prevent it and where any happens we will engage in prompt action to resolve it.

“We are looking into areas of bringing in more hands by way of rescue missions, a lot of people have indicated interest, and all of these are geared towards ensuring no single registered pilgrim is left behind at the end of the day,”  Hassan assured.

For the first time, Nigeria filled all the slots given to her by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to the backlog of pilgrims that were not able to engage in the exercise for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NAHCON boss said they were determined to ensure that within the two weeks left for the commencement of the 2023 hajj rites, every registered prospective Nigeria pilgrim was in Saudi Arabia before the deadline for the spiritual exercise.

Saudi Arabia has restored 95,000 Hajj slots to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria for the 2023 Hajj, out of which 75,000 were allocated to the States and Armed Forces of Nigeria while 20,000 were distributed to independent private Tour operators.

Meanwhile, out of the 48,597 Nigerian pilgrims already transported to Holy Land for this year’s Hajj, 35,178 pilgrims have moved to Makkah for the next phase of their pilgrimage while the rest were still in Madinah performing the first phase of the spiritual exercise.

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