SAUDI ARABIA, SEPTEMBER 1, 2016 – The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it has so far transported 61, 237 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for this year’s pilgrimage.The commission’s Media Officer, Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, said in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday that the pilgrims were transported in 149 flights.
He said with the success recorded so far, it was likely that the commission would complete the flight operations on Monday.
He attributed the success to careful planning by the commission as well as the cooperation of the states’ pilgrims welfare agencies and the airlines.
A total of 77,000 Nigerians are expected to perform this year’s hajj — 67,000 through NAHCON and 10,000 through approved tour operators.
Transportation of pilgrims to the Holy land begun on Aug. 8.
Abdullahi also told NAN that most of the pilgrims were transported direct to Madinah instead of the previous arrangement of landing in Jeddah and transporting them by road to the city.
He said the new arrangement had saved the pilgrims the rigours of travelling for more than four hours by road and paying the transport fare.
Abdullahi said more than 70 per cent of the pilgrims who started arriving in Madinah on Aug. 8 had been moved to Makkah to begin the final hajj rites which would culminate in the stay at Arafat expected on Sept 10.
Meanwhile, many pilgrims, who spoke to NAN said they were satisfied with the arrangements made for them in Madinah.
Many said they were happy with the accommodation arrangement which gave them easy access to the second holy mosque.