By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A group of Islamic scholars under the Umbrella of the Ummah Leadership Forum has expressed its support and commendation to all hajj stakeholders currently working rounds the clock to facilitate the transportation of Nigerian pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia for this year’s hajj exercise.
A statement signed by the Chairman of the forum, Alh Sulaiman Yahaya and Secretary Abdullateef Olawale praised NAHCON for its ability to surmount the many unforeseen challenges that come along with this year’s airlifts.
The leadership of the group who are currently in Saudi Arabia for this year’s hajj said Nigerians need to appreciate the sleepless nights and hectic nature of transporting over 95,000 people from their homes to another country.
The leadership of the forum who are currently in Saudi Arabia said “We arrived here through the second flight from FCT and to be fair, NAHCON staff here have been up and doing and a lot of pilgrims have expressed their appreciation”.
” For example, the commission along with other stakeholders were able to find workable solutions to the closure of Sudan airspace – an unforeseen challenge that propped up less than two weeks before the commencements of airlifts of Nigeria pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.”
“We also learned from the Media recently that NAHCON faced a lot of administrative bottlenecks in funding the air carriers that manifestly limit the ability and capacity of airliners during this period”.
“Remember that the initial date set for the commencement of airlifts was changed due to the inability of the airlines and NAHCON to agree on the “exact cost of air tickets” Which also derailed the airlifts process”.
“While we acknowledge the pains of pilgrims whose flights were delayed, we should also understand that the process of a mass evacuation of pilgrims is tedious and appreciates the efforts of the commissions and other stakeholders”.
The statement said Hajj airlifts is the only exercise in the world that involves transporting hundreds of thousands of people within stipulated time. Each country participating in hajj airlifts has its peculiar challenges because of the nature of the operations”.