With barely five days left to the commencement of the sacred rites of Hajj 2018, the pace of airlifts of Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia has increased.
So far, a total of 31,897 Nigerian pilgrims have been airlifted to the Holy land, with more expected to arrive before the deadline for closure of entry into the Kingdom.
From midnight on the 4th day of Dhul Hijja, Saudi authorities shut down all air, land and sea ports, until after the Eid al-Adha or Ram slaughtering festival.
This year, the deadline for arrival of all pilgrims is set for Thursday, August the 16th 2018.
Both King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah and all land and sea ports designated for receiving pilgrims will be closed.
Latest flight records
Official logs released by NAHCON show that an additional 19 flights have landed in Saudi Arabia with Nigerian pilgrims and officials on board.
On the 61st flight, 314 Lagos pilgrims made up of 139 males and 175 females as well as 8 officials landed in Madinah.
Another aircraft from Lagos conveyed 258 pilgrims from Oyo and 8 officials to Madinah on the 62nd flight. The pilgrims were 118 men and 140 women.
The 63rd flight took off from Sokoto with 372 male and 181 female pilgrims from Zamfara. Similarly, a total of 561 pilgrims from Borno, comprising 358 males and 203 females, arrived in Madina on the 64th flight.
NAHCON records also show that 171 pilgrims, made up of 99 males and 72 females from Oyo, as well as six pilgrims from Ogun state in equal number of males and females, arrived in Madinah on the 65th flight.
On the 66th flight, 13 officials joined 310 Kaduna pilgrims of which 151 were males and 159 were females.
A 2nd batch of 265 Ogun pilgrims made up of 129 males and 136 females landed with the 67th flight from Nigeria.
From Bauchi, 545 pilgrims; 367 of them men and 178 women, as well as 2 officials also landed in Madinah on board the 68th flight.
Arriving via Jeddah was a contingent of 550 pilgrims from Borno, made up of 313 males and 237 females. The team was accompanied by 10 officials on the 69th flight.
The 3rd and 4th batches of 174 and 263 pilgrims from Ogun had 212 males and 225 females, as well as 5 officials on the 70th and 71st flights.
547 Zamfara pilgrims and 11 officials departed from Sokoto International Airport on the 72nd flight. 335 of the pilgrims were males while 212 were females.
On board the 73rd flight, 147 pilgrims from Ogun and 3 officials were on conveyed to Madinah. 105 of the contingent were men and 42 were women.
Another batch of 431 pilgrims and 3 officials from Sokoto arrived in Madinah on board the 74th flight. The contingent had 20 males and 231 females.
The 75th flight from Nigeria had on board a combined contingent of 540 pilgrims from Niger and Jigawa states.
Of the figure, 374 were pilgrims from Niger, comprising 240 males, 134 females and 6 officials, while Jigawa had 166 pilgrims made up of 94 males, 72 females and 4 officials.
From Katsina, the 76th flight conveyed 512 pilgrims made up of 298 men and 214 females. 17 officials were also on hoard the flight.
124 males and 49 females made up the contingent of 173 pilgrims, along with 4 officials from Kebbi state on the 77th flight.
Another 265 pilgrims from Edo and Osun states also arrived in Madinah on board the same 78th flight. Edo had 130 pilgrims, comprising 52 males and 78 females while Osun’s 135 pilgrims comprised of 61 males and 74 females.
The 79th flight from Nigeria had 177 Osun pilgrims made up of 90 males and 87 females.
More Nigerian pilgrims are expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia over the next two days.