Despite the extension of landing permits granted to Nigeria by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there is still uncertainty over the fate of more than 8,000 intending pilgrims as they await their airlift just 24 hours to the closure of airports in Saudi Arabia.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria announced on Monday that Saudi Arabia had granted a 48-hour extension to Nigeria to airlift all its intending pilgrims.
With the extension, the landing permit for flights conveying intending pilgrims, which was to close Monday would now close on Wednesday.
While this came as a relief to many intending pilgrims stranded across the country, there is still apprehension among some of the pilgrims as the deadline inches nearer.
As of Monday morning, 27,359 pilgrims have been airlifted out of the 33,971 state pilgrims while about 5,641 intending pilgrims are yet to be airlifted.
This is in addition to over 2,550 intending pilgrims belonging to the tour operators that are projected to miss the pilgrimage over the non-remittance of the funds belonging to the operators to the service providers in Saudi Arabia.
The funds would have enabled them to pay for visa processing, accommodation and feeding, among others.
While NAHCON said it has transferred the money to the operators’ accounts in Saudi Arabia, a number of the operators, about 51 of them, could not confirm the payment.
Each tour operator had 50 pilgrims each allocated to them by NAHCON.