As Muslims around the world await Saudi Arabia’s decision on the 2020 Hajj, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has assured Nigerian pilgrims that their health and safety would not be compromised.
The NAHCON Commissioner in charge of Operations, Licensing and Tour Operators, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa, gave the assurance while responding to questions from Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He said that while the commission was still awaiting the official decision of the Saudi Government on the 2020 Hajj, the commission would also take into consideration the health and safety of Nigerians in deciding its participation in the annual pilgrimage.
The commissioner stressed that the lives and safety of the pilgrims was more important and paramount than any other consideration.
“Whatever the final decision of Saudi Arabia on Hajj 2020 may be, we on our part will make sure that the wellbeing and safety of our country’s contingent is paramount and secured”, He said
When asked about the commission”s position on the Hajj 2020, especially against the backdrop of limited time before the commencement of Hajj, the Commissioner said that the Commission was consulting with relevant stakeholders in the country to come up with an advisory paper to guide the federal government in taking final decisions.
“We have just concluded the first phase of our consultation and interface with the National assembly Committees and leadership. We will start the next phase this week with meetings with the licensed Tour operators and chief executives of State pilgrims welfare boards and after which we will collate our findings and send same to the Federal Government as an advisory to guide them in their final decision making. I can assure you that whatever decision that will be made will be in the best overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. We are not unmindful of the challenges and time constraints, but we will ensure that whatever advice we give to the government will not be influenced by sentiments. “
Alhaji Hardawa however, assured that the commission has prepared well enough for any eventuality if it became imperative that the 2020 Hajj would go ahead.
“Before the suspension of the 2020 Hajj arrangements by the Saudi authorities, the commission had made tremendous progress in the pricing and conduct of flight planning arrangement which had resulted in the reduction of cost paid to service providers to the tune of Three billion Naira for which the federal government had praised the new board.” He said