Hajj 2019: Intending pilgrims protest at Ilorin International Airport

Tunde Akanbi,Ilorin

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The entrance to the Ilorin International Airport has been barricaded  by some  intending pilgrims who are yet to be airlifted to Saudi Arabia.

some of the intending pilgrims protesting at the Kwara airport

The protesting pilgrims are those from Ekiti and Ondo who claimed they have been abandoned at the airport unattended to and no news of when they would be airlifted to Saudi Arabia.

Kwara Government , Board react to protest

The Kwara State  Moslem Pilgrims Welfare Board, Ilorin has reacted to the protest by some pilgrims earlier at the Ilorin International Airport.  The pilgrims particularly those from Ondo and Ekiti States barricaded the gates leading into the airport.

The Executive Secretary of the board, Alhaji Tunde Jimoh who spoke with VON in a telephone conversation  from Mecca in Saudi Arabia said Kwara state  had since  airlifted all its 2,026 pilgrims to this year’s  hajj.

The Board while responding to a news released by some media houses  disclosed that the last batch of Kwara pilgrims totalling 369 including officials left ilorin since Wednesday 24th July.

The board also confirmed  that the three batches of its pilgrims already airlifted are now in Mecca in continuation of their hajj rites  after spending eight days in Medina while the last batch will leave Medina on Wednesday to Macca to join other pilgrims.

The Board also  confirmed  that all Kwara pilgrims are hale and hearty.

In a similar reaction,  the state government through a statement released by the Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Rafiu Ajakaye disclosed that the protest by pilgrims from the neighbouring states has no connections whatsoever with the state government or officials of the state Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board as being claimed by some persons.

According to him, all pilgrims registered with the Kwara State Government for the 2019 pilgrimage have been airlifted to Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile,  NAHCON , the airport authority  and the Airline scheduled to airlift the remaining pilgrims from the Ilorin zone comprising those from Kwara, Ondo and Ekiti States are  said to be making all efforts to airlift the protesting pilgrims from Ondo and Ekiti States to the Holy land hopefully by Tuesday.

Ime Njoku