By Abubakar Usman Jidda
The first batch of intending pilgrims for this year’s Hajj from Nigeria is expected to depart Maiduguri International Airport to Prince Muhammad Bn Al-Saud in Madinah tomorrow, Thursday the 9th of June 2022.
The Commissioner Operations of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa disclosed this on Wednesday in a Hausa programme, Barka Da Warhaka on Freedom Radio Kaduna.
He said the inaugural flight with pilgrims from Borno State is expected to take off anytime Thursday after the usual kickoff ceremony.
The Commissioner, who lamented the short notice and clearance for this year’s Hajj from the Saudi authorities, nonetheless was elated that NAHCON, was able to secure competitive rates for accommodation, transportation and feeding of pilgrims in the Holy Land.
He said NAHCON has maintained its pilgrims’ accommodations nearer to the Prophet Mosque in Madinah.
Alhaji Abdullahi Hardawa, however, warned that any intending pilgrim that failed to turn up for his flight would be fined, his empty seat fully paid for and would have to wait for the last flight of the outward journey from Abuja, irrespective of his initial take off centre.
He also advised Pilgrims to maintain good hygiene, abide by all rules and regulations laid down by both Saudi and Nigerian authorities and be good ambassadors of Nigeria in the Holy Land.
The Commissioner further stated that already members of the advanced medical team have taken position in Makkah and Madinah with all necessary medical provisions to look after Nigerian pilgrims during the entire Hajj exercise.
He advised Pilgrims to exchange and expend their Basic Travelling Allowance, BTA, wisely, avoid unnecessary loitering as the weather condition is likely to be unfriendly and that they should always be in groups when going out to ward off dupes and swindlers, especially in Madinah.
It could be recalled that the Saudi authorities allocated about forty three thousand seats to Nigeria, half of its previous quotas, for this year’s Hajj, after suspending the exercise worldwide for two years as result of the covid-19 pandemic.