Pilgrims airlift: CSO urges improved security across airports, Hajj camps
The Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has called for more security measures to be taken at airports and Hajj camps during this year’s exercise.
The IHR monitors and reports Hajj and Umrah activities within and outside Nigeria.
Its National Coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed,, said in a statement on Thursday that this would stop the perpetration of criminal activities in places where intending pilgrims would transit from.
He called on agencies responsible for security across all departure centres to be up and doing to ensure the safe airlift of the pilgrims.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has fixed May 25 for the inaugural transportation of Nigerian intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
“Nigerians may recall that pilgrims from Niger State had to be ferried to Abuja because of security challenges in Minna and inadequate security around Minna Airport.
“Also, Kaduna bound aircraft had to be diverted to Kano due to security concerns while a convoy of vehicles conveying intending pilgrims in Sokoto state was attacked by suspected bandits leading to the death of a security agent,” he said.
Muhammed also said preparations for this year’s airlift is already being challenged by the Sudanese conflict and urged authorities to ensure that adequate security personnel are deployed to all departure centres.
He advised all State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Agencies to borrow a cue from NAHCON by coming up with a standing committee on security with a mandate to ensure full protection of all intending pilgrims and facilities being used for transit.
“Various security outfits exist across all the states and local government areas and it is our belief that it will not take too much to select capable hands to work 24/7 until all pilgrims are airlifted.
‘’The same scenario should be replicated during return journeys. No resources or efforts put to ensure adequate security is too much,” he said.