The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, said yesterday that it has airlifted more than 29,000 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
The Director, Public Affairs of the commission, Alhaji Uba Mana, said this in an interview with NAN in Abuja.
Mana said the commission had also recorded 74 flights.
“Flynas, Medview, Kabo, Skypower, Max, Topbrass and Donia airlines, among others, are involved in the airlifting of pilgrims from Kaduna, Lagos, Gombe, Ibadan, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Dutse, Abuja and Kastina to Saudi Arabia.
He said some of the pilgrims were airlifted directly to Madinah and others to Jeddah, adding that “those taken to Jeddah will move to Madinah as vehicles are stationed at the airports for that purpose.’’
He said the commission had secured 57,000 visas out of the 66,000 required for the pilgrims, assuring that the remaining visas would be ready before their scheduled flights.
The director said although the commission anticipated problems with the e-track system introduced by Saudi authorities, which must be strictly complied with before securing visa, it was discovered to be faster.
Mana said the airlifts would be concluded before the September 17 deadline, adding that “the airlifting has been hitch-free and we have not encountered any flight delay.”
He advised intending pilgrims not to expose themselves to the sun, “intending pilgrims are advised to take excessive water. We were informed by Saudi authorities that the weather will be extremely hot, about 40-44 degrees Celsius, pilgrims should take precautionary measures to avoid the sun,” he said.
He also urged female pilgrims to move in groups, avoid unfamiliar areas and unmarked cabs for their safety.

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