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HAJJ RETURN JOURNEY COMPLETED IN LAGOS, ILORIN, P' HARCOURT, MAIDUGURI ZONES

By NBF News
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Med-View Airlines, one of the carriers designed for Hajj operations to Saudi Arabia said it has completed the return leg of exercise having airlifted 16,000 from the holy land. The Managing Director of the airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole who stated this in Lagos at weekend said the operation was divided into four zones, which ultimately covered the entire country.

He said the exercise was hitch-free, urging the government to grant the permission to take part in Christian pilgrimage exercise to Jerusalem, Israel.

'We have made attempts in the past and I want to still say that we are ready for the exercise if given the opportunity, but we have not been invited so far. It is still our area of interest and we are ready at any day and time. But it seems those who are organising the annual event are more comfortable with foreign carriers.

I want to say here that the indigenous operators too are equally good and should be given the opportunity to participate in the exercise,' he said. Bankole explained that the carrier operated in Maiduguri, Ilorin, Port Harcourt and Lagos Zones. Giving graphic operational details of the exercise, Bankole, said the airline airlifted 3,031 pilgrims in Maiduguri, 3,079 in Ilorin, 850 in Port Harcourt and 9,000 including officials in Lagos zones.

He further said that the carrier finished the exercise 10 days ahead of schedule and denied that any of the pilgrims was stranded in Mecca. He emphasised that the exercise was completed ahead of schedule because Nigeria commenced the exercise simultaneously with other countries that participated in the exercise unlike in the past when Nigeria started the exercise late.

He, however, called for more awareness for the participants in the annual exercise and urged them to be more focus on spiritual aspect of the exercise rather than personal things, which he said interfered with the purpose of the exercise.