The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), on Friday apologised to the Federal Government, the various state pilgrims welfare boards, tour operators, and Nigerian pilgrims for the inconveniences experienced during the outbound flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj.
The commission equally regretted the inability to airlift a total of 1,550 Nigerians to the Holy Land before the closure of the Saudi airspace to aircraft.
This was contained in a statement issued by NAHCON’s Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, on Friday.
It lamented that despite the commission’s efforts to airlift all Nigerians intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj, it was incapacitated in discharging the responsibility fully.
According to the statement, this was caused majorly by last-minute setbacks that frustrated its plan to conclude the airlift of pilgrims by June 27.
It stated that the chartered flight option which gave it and private tour operators so much hope failed as their IBAN accounts failed accreditation by the respective authorities in Saudi Arabia.
“The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) humbly acknowledges the following: that it owes deep and unreserved regrets to entire intending pilgrims to 2022 Hajj for the hardships and disappointments experienced during outbound airlift operations to the holy land.
“The Commission offers similar apologies to the Federal Government of Nigeria, State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards, Private Tour Operators, and the general public for any embarrassment the situation of the past few weeks might have caused.
“Sadly, despite all efforts to airlift all Nigerian intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2022 Hajj, NAHCON was incapacitated in discharging this responsibility fully, majorly due to last-minute setbacks that frustrated its plan to conclude airlift of pilgrims by 27th June of this year.
“Unfortunately, the chartered flight option that gave so much hope to NAHCON and the Private Tour Operators’ leadership also became a failure as their IBAN accounts failed accreditation by the respective authorities in Saudi Arabia,” the statement read in part.
It informed that nine intending pilgrims from Bauchi State; 91 from Plateau State; 700 from Kano State and 750 from private tour operators could not be airlifted to the Holy Land before the closure of Jeddah airport to perform the spiritual exercise.
NAHCON, however, assured those who missed the opportunity this year of a refund of their Hajj fares, while it works towards improving on its deficiencies against next year.
“The Commission gives assurance that all affected pilgrims will be refunded their Hajj fares while it will work towards improving its deficiencies next time.
“NAHCON has learnt a lot of lessons and is determined not to have a repetition of the unfortunate situation.