Stories by Matthew Denis
A total of 555 Muslim intending pilgrims were airlifted by Max Air through Ilorin International Airport to perform the 2018 Hajj exercise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Friday.
The pilgrims were the first batch of Kwara pilgrims from the Ilorin zone of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) which comprises three states including Ekiti and Ondo.
The pilgrims, who were scheduled to be airlifted around 12am on Thursday experienced delayed flight.
They were eventually airlifted at exactly 4:37am after the routine security screening.
Cross section of intending pilgrims who spoke to this medium expressed dissatisfaction over the situation, thereby soliciting for improved arrangement.
Speaking on the development, the Executive Secretary of Kwara State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board, Alhaji Tunde Jimoh said, “the delay in the flight was attributed to the new Saudi Arabia policies which affected all the operational agencies and service providers in Nigeria.”
He, however, expressed delight that the screening of the pilgrims was conducted smoothly by security personnel without anyone found to have ran foul of the rules and regulation.
Jimoh tasked the pilgrims to be law abiding and avoid carrying contrabands that could put them into trouble.
He equally warned relatives of the intending pilgrims to keep off the screened area to avoid being arrested by security agents.
The Executive Secretary announced that the first batch of pilgrims had landed in Jeddah and on their way to Medina at the time of filing this report.