He claimed that if the visa process had gone as quickly as anticipated, the state would have already transported all of the intended pilgrims to the Kingdom.
To ensure that all of the remaining intended pilgrims receive their visas in the shortest amount of time possible so they can join other Muslims around the world in performing the Hajj rites in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Prophet, he added that the Embassy had been contacted to expedite the processes.
He praised the intending pilgrims for their endurance, patience, and understanding despite the difficulties with visa issuance and pleaded with them not to lose patience with the state as it struggles to overcome them, promising that no government representatives would travel for the exercise until all the paid intending pilgrims were satisfactorily airlifted.
Elegushi also praised Gafar Babatunde and his crew, the South West Zonal Coordinator of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), as well as Flynas Airlines for the superior services they both provided ever since the airlifting activity started.
He expressed his gratitude to the Flynas airline for its admirable behavior, which had significantly aided the state in reaching the milestone.
Addressing the intending pilgrims before their departure, the Board Chairman, Imam (Engr.) Shakiru Gafar, also appreciated them for their peaceful conduct over the delay in the issuance of visas.
He echoed Prince Elegushi’s assurances, stressing that the state was up to the task and would do everything in its power to ease their concerns, even though he pointed out that the visa could only be issued by the Saudi Embassy. He also noted that the visa could only be issued by the Saudi Embassy.
Engr. Gafar appealed to them to exhibit the exemplary conducts of peace and patience throughout their stay in the holy land in order to improve the good image to the state and the nation at large and for their supplications to be accepted by Allah.
Recall that the state was allocated 3,644 slots for this year’s spiritual exercise by NAHCON. Meanwhile, the breakdown of how the state’s contingents were airlifted since inception is as follows; 868 were airlifted in three batches on Thursday 1st June. The first batch had 390, second batch 428 and third batch 50.
The fourth batch on Friday 2nd June had 253; fifth batch on Saturday 3rd June, 426 were airlifted. The sixth flight which took off on Monday 5th June, had 417 on board while the seventh batch which left in the early hours of Tuesday 6th June, had 415 intending pilgrims on board.
This has put the number of intending pilgrims already airlifted by the state to 2,379.
The officer in charge of the Nigeria Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Chief Superintendent of Narcotics, Alh. Isiaku Mohammed Salau told reporters that in fulfilling its mandate, the agency ensured that all the intending pilgrims traveling through the airport are thoroughly screened with a view to to ensuring that non of them leaves the country with illicit drugs and other prohibited items.
He cautioned others yet to be airlifted to avoid taking along prohibited items such as Tramadol, cola nut, heroine, etc. while embarking on the spiritual journey, saying if they are caught whether in Nigeria or at Saudi Arabia, they would be punished in accordance with the laws.