Hajj: Over 1,000 Oyo pilgrims stranded in Saudi Arabia

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By Musliudeen Adebayo

Over 1,000 people from Oyo State who participated in the just concluded Hajj in Saudi Arabia are stranded.

The pilgrimage to Mecca and Medinah (Saudi Arabia) is the fifth and last pillar of the Islamic religion.

DAILY POST reports that some of the pilgrims who performed the exercise across the country have returned safely.

However, the pilgrims from the state are yet to know the date of their departure as of the time of filing this report on Tuesday.

Chairman of the State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board, Professor Sayed Malik, who confirmed the development, noted that efforts of officials to ensure the timely return of the pilgrims were obstructed by logistic problems.

He explained that it was scheduled that the pilgrims would be transported back to Nigeria in batches from July 10, but things did not go to plan.

“But things took a dramatic turn as the airline officials refused to airlift the pilgrims as earlier agreed. We were surprised that there was no communication from the airline and NAHCON officials on July 10 about our departure, and our pilgrims waited in vain at their hotels for the officials who didn’t show up.

“We later learned that the Aero Contractors aircraft which transported the first batch of Nasarawa pilgrims to Nigeria didn’t come back for other pilgrims in Saudi but remained grounded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport in Abuja because the airline failed to secure permit to land in Jeddah from Saudi aviation authorities,” he said.

DAILY POST also learnt that the Amir Hajj, who is also the State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Bayo Lawal, has directed the State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare to take appropriate steps on the matter.

The Deputy Director, Information and Publication of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Mousa Ubandawaki, when contacted, promised to get back to our reporter.

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