The Association for Hajj and Umrah Operators, Kano Zone, has lost about N2bn to the recent suspension of flights between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
This was contained in a communiqué issued after an emergency meeting of the association held on December 10, 2021 and made available to journalist in Kano on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia had last week suspended flights from Nigeria, a development that affected intending Umrah (lesser Hajj) pilgrims.
According to the communique, no fewer than 1,600 visas with equivalent tickets had so far been issued but could not be used by the intending Umrah pilgrims due to the flight suspension.
It read in part, “The meeting took a preliminary stock of the estimated loss which runs to over a billion Naira as there are more than 1,600 unused visas and tickets affected by the sudden suspension of direct flights to Saudi Arabia,” the communique said.
“Saudi Arabia’s decision to stop flight from Nigeria came to us as a rude shock because there was no established case of any Nigerian that was found or tested positive in the Kingdom of the suspected Omicron variant of COVID-19 virus.”
The meeting also expressed disappointment over the position taken by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria about the fate of pilgrims affected by the suspension where NAHCON said it had nothing to do with Umrah.
It also called on the Federal Government through its relevant agencies to engage Saudi authorities to enable the kingdom to lift the flight suspension, noting that Nigerian pilgrims had complied with the COVID-19 protocols.
Article first published on the Punch Website