The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has strongly criticized the Leadership newspaper for publishing a misleading article regarding Hajj.
In a statement released on June 9, 2023, Mousa Ubandawaki, NAHCON Deputy Director of Information and Publication, expressed dissatisfaction with the newspaper’s report.
“We have taken notice of an article in today’s issue of the Leadership newspaper, dated Friday, June 9, which falsely claims that over 45,000 Nigerian pilgrims may miss this year’s Hajj,” NAHCON stated.
The Commission attributed the delay in visa processing to technical difficulties, leading to the unavailability of travel visas to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“While there were indeed technical problems initially, we have successfully resolved them. Visa processing is currently underway, and in the past two days, state pilgrims have received steady visa approvals. No flights have been canceled due to visa issues,” NAHCON clarified.
NAHCON revealed that over 35,000 Nigerian pilgrims are already in the Holy Land, and the remaining individuals are scheduled to be airlifted within the next 10 days.
“It is worth noting that out of the 75,000 slots allocated, more than 58,000 visas have already been processed for Nigerian pilgrims. Approximately 20,000 visas were issued between yesterday and today, while the remaining visas will be processed by tomorrow. Despite the initial setback, our Commission is fully committed to completing the airlift operation to Saudi Arabia before the 20th of this month,” the statement added.
NAHCON assured that all states scheduled for departure are on track without any disruptions related to visa procurement.
“Furthermore, as we aim to transport all our pilgrims to visit Madina before Arafat, and to ensure synchronization with the available accommodations in the city while avoiding overcrowding, the Commission has taken precautions to avoid overloading the airlift process,” NAHCON explained.
NAHCON urged the media to prioritize the interests of Nigerian pilgrims while also being mindful of inadvertently causing worry and anxiety among them.
The Commission called on the public and the pilgrims to disregard the misleading news report, emphasizing that its commitment remains steadfast in providing timely and comfortable airlift services to all eligible Nigerian pilgrims.
“We want to reaffirm our dedication to transporting every eligible Nigerian pilgrim to the Holy land, not only punctually but also while ensuring their utmost welfare,” NAHCON concluded.