Intending pilgrims from Bauchi state e on Monday expressed fear that if care is not taken, they are likely going to miss this year’s pilgrimage exercise to Saudi Arabia, even as the state government assured that all of them will be airlifted to the holy land to perform the spiritual exercise.
Some of the intending pilgrims who spoke to daily times both at the Games Village transit camp and the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport in Bauchi, expressed uncertainty that less than a week to the closure of airports in Saudi Arabia, they are yet to go beyond the shores of Nigeria.
The Saudi authorities have announced that airports would be closed by Saturday, August 26 for flights bringing pilgrims to the holy land as the hajj rites proper are expected to commence fully two days later.
Checks revealed that of the 3,090 intending pilgrims from the state only 889 have so far been airlifted as of Monday morning from the state capital, leaving a total of 2,201 awaiting airlift.
The intending pilgrims, however, called on the state government to urgently do something with a view to ensuring that all of them are airlifted before the closure of airports in Saudi Arabia to enable them perform the Hajj exercise.
A member of the state’s Amirul Hajj Committee, Alhaji Uba Ahmed Nana, has cleared the fear of the intending pilgrims, assuring that all of them will be airlifted before Saturday.
Speaking with journalists at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport Bauchi, Monday, Nana informed that the airlift of intending pilgrims is being done on the basis of state by state, saying that, “This is the turn of Bauchi state and we shall fly all our intending pilgrims. No intending pilgrim will be left out even though time is not on our side.”
Nana said preparation for the exercise has been going on since even before the airlift commenced and assured that there is no any fear of leaving any intending pilgrims behind.
“Bauchi State has just airlifted 889 out of 3090 intending pilgrims. Today (yesterday) is August 21, while the closing date is August 26. So there is no fear.”
He added that as of yesterday the third batch of intending pilgrims of 300 has been airlifted from the airport to Saudi Arabia, adding that, “so far the total number airlifted as of today is 889 intending pilgrims who are already in Saudi.”
Ahmed Nana, however, reminded the intending pilgrims to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari, who returned from London after spending 103 days on medical vacation, as well as Bauchi state and the country at large.
Samuel Luka, Bauchi