Shocking Reversal: Pilgrims not deported - Hajj Commission

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The National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) has made a shocking turn-around, claiming that reports of the recent detention and deportation of female Muslim pilgrims by the Saudi Arabian government is untrue.

The commission, which claimed that the pilgrims did not violate Saudi Arabian law to that would warrant deportation has however said that the Nigerian federal government had arranged the return of the nearly 600 female pilgrims in a bid to follow due processes.

Chairman of NAHCON, Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, who made the revelation, Saturday, in Abuja confirmed that the issues raised by the Saudi authorities that the female pilgrims must be accompanied by a male companion was essential to hajj exercises and that Nigeria could not have violated the rule.

He also denied that the Federal Government delegation to Saudi Arabia were not refused visa to the holy land and disclosed that the suspended airlifting operation of the pilgrims would resume once certain undisclosed issues are resolved, adding that eight states with 32 flight schedules are waiting to be airlifted to Saudi Arabia.

He therefore assured that all the pilgrims would be airlifted before the October 20 closing date of the King Abdulazeez International Airport Jeddah and Madinah airport, via the approved air carriers, Max Airline, Mediview, Meridiene and Kabo airlines.