‘FAAN will ensure smooth return of Muslim pilgrims’

For the umpteenth time, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) yesterday, advised the Muslim pilgrims embarking on this year’s holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to desist from smuggling prohibited items into the holy land.

This is just as the organisation responsible for managing airports across the country, has assured that it will ensure that the return journey of the pilgrims back to Nigeria will be made safe and secured through the preparations that have been put on ground.

Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune at the weekend, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Yakubu Dati, attributed the hitch free exercise so far recorded across the airports where pilgrims were airlifted to the rigorous preparation put on ground by the FAAN personnel.

Dati cited the hard efforts made by the organisation led by the Chairman of the Aviation Monitoring Committee from the Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Adamu Wakil, to ensure safety and security at the airports while the exercise lasts.

In line with this, Dati said the committee chairman was at the Sokoto airport with top directors in FAAN in company of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’adu Abubakar; Governor of Sokoto, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his Zamfara State counterpart, Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar, to confirm the level of preparedness for the exercise.

Initially, FAAN had sent its technical team to check the level of security at the 17 airports selected for the exercise across the country.

“We have trained personnel to beef up the capacity at the airports concerned. We are assuring the public that we are working to ensure that pilgrims on their return will not suffer any hitch on their way back after the exercise.”

He, however, appealed to the pilgrims to avoid doing anything that may tarnish the image of the country while in the holy land.

The appeal is coming few days after three pilgrims from Kwara State were caught with substances identified as cocaine by the Saudi authorities in the holy land.