CITIZENS COMPASS – THOUSANDS of intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia were stranded at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos State over the weekend.
The affected pilgrims as gathered, were those that booked their flights through private arrangements.
Some of the tour operators had booked Arik Air, one of the airlines approved by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), for the airlift of pilgrims to the Holy Land.
In anger, the pilgrims have stormed the Arik Air office at the domestic airport, protesting against the delayed airlift.
Arik was allocated pilgrims from the private tour operators. They are to airlift pilgrims from Lagos, Kano and Abuja zones.
There are fears most of the affected pilgrims may miss the Hajj as the closure of the Saudi airspace inches near.
As of the time of filing this report, thousands of to pilgrims are still stranded at the airport where they have been sleeping for the past four days, awaiting their airlift.
One of the pilgrims who spoke with our correspondent said some of them who were to be airlifted on June 14 are still at the airport.
They have been sleeping in the Mosques and other open places around the international airport even as the facilities are said to be overstretched, with the departure hall crowded.