The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and four Nigerian Airlines have finally signed a contract for the transport of pilgrims to the 2023 Hajj.
Zikrullah Hassan, the chairman of the commission, said this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by Malam Mousa Ubandawaki, the deputy director of information and publications at NAHCON.
The four airlines reportedly declined to sign a contract with NAHCON earlier on Thursday because of the current conflict in Sudan.
The airlines are Max Air with 16,326 allocation, Air Peace with 11,348, Azman with 8,660 and Aero Contractors with 7,833.
Hassan praised the patriotic zeal of the local airlines for their sacrifices in the face of the Sudan crisis.
“We are not unmindful of the challenge posed by the closure of the Sudan airspace to your Hajj operation.
“However, I wish to appeal to your conscience and sense of patriotism not to further burden the pilgrims with additional costs or changes.”
Read Also: Lawan hails Buhari’s administration, says President assented to 104 out of 162 Senate bills
The Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi, said the airlines were mindful of the plight of pilgrims; most of them had earlier paid their hajj fare before the crises broke out.
“But we are constrained to take that decision because of logistic and operational need. We won’t like anything that will disrupt our operation halfway.”
In the same vein, the Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyeama, said their call for the review of the transportation agreement with NAHCON was not to exploit the Sudan crises for business gains or opportunities.
“We care for the Nigerian pilgrims many of whom we know to have made personal sacrifices in paying for Hajj.
“Also, we are mindful of the fact that the pilgrims had already paid before this crisis broke out. We don’t want to deprive them of this opportunity to make the journey to the Holy land.
“We are doing it for national pride.”