Over a thousand people from Oyo State are currently unable to return home after performing the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
The hajj, or pilgrimage, to the holy towns of Mecca and Medinah in Saudi Arabia, is the final and fifth pillar of Islam.
According to the Gist House sources, at least some of the pilgrims who engaged in the exercise across the country have successfully returned home.
The pilgrims from the state did not yet have a firm departure date as of the time this news was made on Tuesday.
Professor Sayed Malik, Chairman of the State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board, verified the occurrence and stated that efforts by officials to ensure the pilgrims’ prompt return were hampered by logistical obstacles. Sayed Malik is in charge of ensuring the safety of Muslim pilgrims.
He went on to say that it had been planned for the pilgrims to be returned to Nigeria in stages beginning on July 10, but that things did not go as planned. He stated that the pilgrims were delayed.
“However, things took a dramatic turn when airline officials refused to transport the pilgrims as previously agreed.” Our party was surprised that the airline and NAHCON officials made no attempt to contact us regarding our departure on July 10, and our pilgrims waited in vain at their different hotels for the officials who did not show.
“We later discovered that the Aero Contractors aircraft that transported the first batch of Nasarawa pilgrims to Nigeria did not return for other pilgrims in Saudi but remained grounded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport in Abuja because the airline failed to secure a permit to land in Jeddah from Saudi aviation authorities,” he explained. “We later discovered that the Aero Contractors aircraft that transported the first batch of Nasarawa pilgrims to Nigeria did not return to pick up additional pilgrims in Saudi.”
the Gist House has also learned that Alhaji Bayo Lawal, the state’s Deputy Governor, and Amir Hajj, have directed the State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare to take appropriate action in light of the event.
After being contacted, Mousa Ubandawaki, Deputy Director of Information and Publication for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, promised to contact our reporter again.