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Thousands of Nigerian Muslims to Miss Hajj


Nigerian authorities say thousands of Muslims will miss the annual hajj because of a lack of flights to take them to Saudi Arabia.

More than 10,000 Muslims are stranded at airports after missing Saudi Arabia's deadline Friday morning for flights to the country. The original deadline expired on Wednesday, but Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo made calls to the Saudi royal family to secure a two-day extension.

Nigerian senator Ibrahim Mantu blamed the problem on poor organization by leaders of the hajj in Nigeria and the government's failure to pay enough for airlines.

A reporter for VOA's Hausa service, Aliyu Mustapha, says the situation has caused widespread anger among pilgrims, many of whom have planned for years to make the journey to the holy city of Mecca.

About half of the some 130 million people in Nigeria are Muslims.

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