The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Saturday announced that it would commence transportation of Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia on August 18.

The Chairman of the Commission, Malam Abdullahi Mukhtar, made the announcement after inaugurating the Medical Team for 2015 hajj exercise in Abuja.

Mukhtar, who was represented by Dr Saleh Okenwa, the Commissioner in charge of strategy, said the Commission was fully prepared for this year’s Hajj.

He said all necessary arrangements had been put in place for the commencement of the exercise.

Mukhtar added that the Commission had provided medical facilities for Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and urged them to discharge their duties as expected of them.

He promised that this year’s exercise was going to be different from previous exercises because of the level of the Commission’s preparation.

In his remarks, the Commissioner in charge of the Medical Team, Dr Ibrahim Kana, commended the Commission for the medical arrangements put in place for this year’s exercise.

He said that “with what I have seen on ground, I have no doubt in my mind that this year’s Hajj will be exceptionally successful.

“With the kind of professionals that made up the Medical Team, the sky is just our starting point.’’

Kana promised the team of adequate accommodation in the Holy Land, and warned, however, that team members should not occupy a whole room for whatever reasons.

“The culture is one bed space per person and not a whole room per person and please people should not lock rooms for whatever reasons.

“We will make sure nobody suffers, whatever the team is entitle to will be given, no denial.’’

Kano also urged the team to give the best services to the pilgrims and promised them of safety of their luggage.

He added that “gone are the days when luggage spend several weeks before getting to the owners.’’

He called on the medical team to be professional in carrying out their duties and to dress decently.

“We are going to conduct pregnancy tests on all the females in the Medical Team too to ascertain their status,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, the National Amirul Hajj and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, was expected to announce the state that would have the first batch to be transported to the Holy Land.