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Nationwide Strike: Aircraft Meant to Convey Nigerian Pilgrims For Hajj Returned Empty to Saudi Arabia – MURIC

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Nationwide Strike: Aircraft Meant to Convey Nigerian Pilgrims For Hajj Returned Empty to Saudi Arabia – MURIC

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Nationwide Strike: Aircraft Meant to Convey Nigerian Pilgrims For Hajj Returned Empty to Saudi Arabia – MURIC

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has expressed deep concern over the impact of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) strike on the airlifting of Nigerian pilgrims for Hajj. In a statement issued on Monday, MURIC Director Prof. Ishaq Akintola revealed that a plane dispatched to transport pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia was turned back due to the strike by aviation workers, forcing it to return to Jedda airport empty.

Prof. Akintola highlighted the dire situation, noting that thousands of Nigerian pilgrims are now stranded and the airlift operations by the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) have been severely disrupted. Pilgrims who had already left their homes for the airports are now in limbo.

“Nigerian Muslims are questioning the timing of the NLC’s national strike, especially with over 60,000 Nigerians in the process of being airlifted for Hajj. Families of these intending pilgrims are experiencing significant fear and anxiety,” Akintola stated. He added that the ongoing strike has not only created confusion and hardship for Muslims preparing for the Id al-Kabiir festival but also poses a severe threat to the lives of the pilgrims.

Akintola accused the NLC of sabotage, arguing that the union must have been aware of the critical period for Muslim preparations for Hajj and Salah. He called on the NLC to immediately end the strike to prevent further jeopardy to the lives of the pilgrims.

“This strike strikes at the very core of the Nigerian Muslim community. We demand that the strike be called off immediately, or the NLC will face the collective discontent of Muslims across the nation. The lives of more than 60,000 pilgrims are at risk, and urgent action is needed from the Federal Government to protect them,” he urged.

Prof. Akintola further called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to declare a state of emergency if the NLC does not end the strike by 8 am on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. He criticized the current NLC leadership, describing their demands as irrational and disconnected from the needs of ordinary Nigerians. He emphasized that only a state of emergency could resolve the crisis caused by the NLC’s actions.

“The recalcitrance of the NLC leadership has become evident, and their demands are seen as unreasonable by the wider Nigerian populace. Immediate intervention is required to release the country from the NLC’s detrimental grip,” Akintola concluded.

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