The Federal Government has reportedly commenced the airlift of Muslim pilgrims with the inaugural flight to Saudi Arabia from the Sultan Abubakar III Airport, Sokoto on Monday, August 8th.
Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria reported that about 80,000 pilgrims will be airlifted in the next five weeks through flight operations in 17 airports across the country.
FAAN, in a statement, also reportedly added that a director in the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Chairman of the Aviation Monitoring Committee, Mr. Adamu Wakil, assured the pilgrims that safety and security infrastructure was given priority in all airports to ensure seamless passenger facilitation during the exercise.
The statement noted that two directors from FAAN, Olufemi Ogunode and Capt. Henry Omeogu, led various technical teams to supervise preparations for the exercise, that the inaugural flight was preceded by an airport ceremony attended by the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, and his counterpart from Zamfara, Abubakar Yari.
Other dignitaries at the ceremony were the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, as well as a few others who gave goodwill messages.
FAAN reportedly said
“Pilgrims from Sokoto and Zamfara states were amongst those that were airlifted on the inaugural flight amidst light showers,”
It stated that the Chairman of National Hajj Commission, Abdullahi Muktar, urged pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the country and shun acts that could bring dishonour to their faith and country.
FAAN reassured that it would provide security and safety oversight to all airports, including state-owned airports that would participate in the airlift