The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Thursday assured Nigerians that Wednesday evening hitch in which an aircraft conveying Jigawa State pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made an emergency landing in Kano would not affect airlift of all Nigerian pilgrims to the Holy Land for this year’s hajj.

A Max Air aircraft with 554 pilgrims and 21 crew members onboard, which departed Dutse International Airport at 4:45 pm on Wednesday, made an emergency landing at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, a few minutes after takeoff, due to turbulence as a result of rainfall.

Reacting to this in a statement signed by NAHCON Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, the Hajj body stated that the situation had been well managed and would not derail the movement of pilgrims for this year’s Hajj.

“NAHCON acknowledges that a technical hitch affected one of the Commission’s contracted air carriers conveying Jigawa State pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the 2023 Hajj.

“The hitch, which was caused by uncontrollable natural circumstances; turbulence as a result of heavy rainfall, forced the aircraft to land temporarily in the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.

“While the occurrence caused an inevitable delay, no doubt, the Chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan assures Nigerian pilgrims, particularly those affected by the unavoidable development, that the situation has been well managed and will not derail the movement of pilgrims for the Hajj.

“NAHCON had already concluded arrangements for rescue operations for any delayed or cancelled flight that would hinder the smooth transportation of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia,” Usara stated.

She informed that a week into the airlift operations, Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa states had concluded airlift of their pilgrims to the Holy Land, while other states were recording steady progress as well.

“So far, close to 14,000 pilgrims are safely in Madinah and the number of flights transporting pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will also increase in a couple of days.

“The operation is going on as planned with backup measures put in place in case of any unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, intending pilgrims are enjoined to remain in a state of readiness at all times for imminent departure to Saudi Arabia,” NAHCON stated.

Meanwhile, as of 5:21 pm on Thursday, a total of 15,303 Nigerian pilgrims have been airlifted to Saudi Arabia in a total of 37 flights. The pilgrims are from 12 states of the federation.


The contingent already in the Holy Land is made up of 9,007 males and 6,026 females. All the pilgrims are currently in Madinah.

While Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa with 1,395, 239 and 2,080 pilgrims respectively have concluded airlift of their pilgrims, other states with pilgrims in Saudi Arabia so far are Bauchi (528); Jigawa (559); Katsina (543); Kwara (1,142); Lagos (818); Ogun (856); Osun (1,274); Sokoto (2,943) respectively.

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