The airlift of Muslim pilgrims has commenced with the inaugural flight to Saudi Arabia from the Sultan Abubakar III airport, Sokoto.
Adamu Wakil, a director in the Ministry of Transport and Chairman of the Aviation monitoring committee, disclosed that about 80 thousand pilgrims will be airlifted in the next 5 weeks through flight operations in 17 airports across the country.
Wakil said ‘safety and security infrastructure is being given priority in all airports to ensure seamless passenger facilitation in the exercise.’
Engr. Olufemi Ogunode and Captain Henry Omeogu, Directors from FAAN, earlier led various technical teams to supervise preparations for the exercise.
The inaugural flight was preceded by an airport ceremony attended by Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Governor Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alh Saad Abubakar III and other dignitaries who gave goodwill messages.
Pilgrims from Sokoto and Zamfara states were amongst those that were airlifted on the inaugural flight amidst light showers.
Bar. Abdullahi Muktar Mohammed, Chairman of National Hajj Commission, had in his welcome remarks, urged pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the country and shun acts that will bring dishonor to their faith and country.
Yakubu Dati, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, had said in a statement that the Authority is providing security and safety oversight to all airports including State owned airports participating in the airlift.
By Patrick Aigbokhan