Alhaji Mohammed Bello, the Chairman, National Hajj Commission (NAHCOM), says that the commission is now ready to resume the transportation of prospective pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, which it earlier suspended for two days.
Bello said this at a news conference held in Abuja on Saturday to clarify issues surrounding the repatriation of some female pilgrims from Saudi Arabia and the suspension of the transportation of intending pilgrims.
He said that NAHCOM decided to resume pilgrims’ transportation after its meeting on Thursday with officials of the airlines engaged for the exercise.
Bello said that at the meeting, the commission decided to carry out a comprehensive review of all flights for this year’s pilgrimage so as to ensure hitch-free operations that were devoid of any embarrassing situation.
“The suspension of pilgrims’ transportation lapses by midnight today and anytime thereafter, as soon as possible and applicable, the carriers will resume pilgrims’ transportation,’’ he said.
Bello stressed that the decision to suspend the flight operations for two days was informed by the “urgent need to ensure that the pilgrims in all subsequent flights do not suffer the same plight as the ones before them.’’
He, however, rejected the media reports that the female pilgrims who were brought back to the country were “deported’’, insisting that they were actually brought back by the Federal Government.
“NAHCOM only brought back our female pilgrims in Nigerian airlines,’’ he said.
Bello said that right now, some 16,000 pilgrims from at least 28 states were ready for transportation to Saudi Arabia. (NAN)