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2019 HAJJ: Stranded pilgrims, tour operators accuse NAHCON of sabotage

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NAHCON Chairman, Abdullahi Mukhtar

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

About 487 stranded pilgrims in Kano and their tour operators have accused the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) of sabotaging their bid to perform the Hajj, an allegation the commission has denied.

KANO TODAY reports that the pilgrims from various states of Nigeria have been waiting at the airport for about  10 days till Thursday afternoon when they learnt that their flight had been cancelled.

The pilgrims allege that Abdullahi Mukhtar, NAHCON chairman had advised Saudi authorities to cancel their approved flight accusing them of being illegal immigrants.

They also accuse Mr Mukhtar of imposing stringent financial conditions on the tour operators causing delays in their operations.

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In an interview with journalists on Thursday, a representative of the tour operators, Usman Hassan Darma accused NAHCON of sabotaging them due to its financial ties with Fly Nas – a Saudi Arabian airline.

Mr. Darma, vice president of the Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (KACCIMA) lamented that tour operators have paid non-refundable fees to service operators in Saudi Arabia.

He therefore called on the federal government to come to their rescue and sanction the NAHCON chairman.

However, NAHCON has denied all the allegations.

Fatima Sanda Usara, spokesperson of the commission told KANO TODAY that NAHCON had offered to address any challenges facing licensed tour operators two weeks before they started airlifting pilgrims but none of them responded.

The spokesperson also denied that NAHCON had accused the stranded pilgrims of being illegal immigrants.

She therefore urged the stranded pilgrims to report the tour operators to the commission for compensation and disciplinary action.

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