2023 Hajj: Nigerian Pilgrims To Start Returning Home July 4



By Salifu Usman

The return journey of over 95,000 Nigerian pilgrims who performed this year’s Hajj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia begins on Tuesday, July 4.

Engineer Goni Sanda, head of the aviation committee of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) disclosed this at the post-Arafat stakeholders meeting for the 2023 Hajj in Makkah Sunday’s night.

He said the return home journey would be strictly on the initial sequence of pilgrims’ journey to the Holy land, to be fair in discharging the duty. He said every pilgrim and official is expected to spend a minimum of 40 days in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia before he or she would be airlifted back to Nigeria.

“The tradition of first come, first return will be observed as a principle and in line with the Saudi guidelines for fairness and equity,” he said.

He appealed to pilgrims and the operators to conduct the home-bound journeys orderly, adding that the handlers had indicated their readiness for the operation.

According to him the operation will be concluded within the same period it took to transport pilgrims from Nigeria “except there is any circumstance that warrants extension like an emergency”.

He also stated that the Saudi Arabian authorities have a policy in place that do not allow air carriers to operate maximally during the first two weeks return flights operation the due to traffic congestion and the large number of aircrafts involvement in the evacuation of pilgrims exercise from the Holy Land to different continents and countries of the world.

Meanwhile, the leadership of NAHCON resolved to ensure that pilgrims abided fully by its luggage policy during their return journey to Nigeria.

The commissioner of operations of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa, stated this at the post Arafah meeting, stressing that the experience of last year in which many pilgrims and officials breached the rule will not be tolerated this time.

He said the commission had evolved a three window approach to luggage handling, the hand luggage of eight kilograms, the thirty-two kilograms luggage and the excess luggage, adding that all is an effort to ease pilgrims movement and easy luggage handling at the airports. He decried the attitude of some pilgrims particularly females who go to the airport with multiple bags all in the name of hand luggage, which he said this time would not be accepted.

He therefore called on state officials to inform their pilgrims about this position to avoid inconveniences and unnecessary delays at the airport, saying airline operators have bitterly complained about this untoward behaviour of some pilgrims.

Leave a Reply