The Federal Government has requested the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to lift the air flight ban it imposed on Nigeria due to the Omicron pandemic.
It also urged action on its earlier request for the Saudi authorities to pay compensation to the families of victims of a crane crash in Mecca as promised.
Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, tabled the request on Tuesday when he led a NAHCON delegation to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja.
According to NAHCON’s Head of Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, the visit was aimed at discussing issues of mutual benefit to both countries regarding Hajj and Umrah operations, as well as the flight ban.
According to her, the request was already advanced to the embassy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other sister agencies.
Addressing the Saudi ambassador, the NAHCON chairman appreciated the constant mutual support and cooperation NAHCON and Nigeria have been enjoying with the Kingdom.
Hassan encouraged the Saudi government to reconsider the direct entry ban in the interest of Nigerian intending pilgrims for Hajj and Umrah who are NAHCON’s primary constituency.
He also expressed gratitude for the efforts being made by the Saudi authorities towards compensating families of the crane crash victims as promised.
In his response, the Saudi Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Faisal Bin Ibraheem Al-Ghamidy, warmly welcomed the entourage to his office and expressed the hope that the flight ban would end soon.
He pledged his country’s support to Nigeria whenever necessary.
On the issue of the crane crash compensation, the ambassador said his country is prepared to ensure the compensation is handed over to the heirs or their representatives soonest as long as the requirements are complied with.
The NAHCON entourage during the visit included the Commissioner of Operations, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa, Commissioner of Policy, Personnel Management and Finance, Alhaji Nura Hassan Yakassai, Secretary to the Commission, Dr Rabi’u Abdullahi Kontagora, and Special Assistant to the chairman, Dr Danbaba Haruna.
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