Nigerian pilgrims to 2020 Hajj may benefit from the newly enhanced international passport booklet designed to speed up documentation and clearance of travelers.
This was revealed when NAHCON Chairman Barrister Zikrullah Hassan paid a courtesy visit to the Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service Muhammed Babandede, as a step towards preparations for quick exit of Nigerian pilgrims during Hajj operations.
Barrister Hassan appreciated the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for the excellent working relationship between the two sister agencies and decried the long waiting hours experienced by Nigerian pilgrims during outbound journeys from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia.
He implored the Comptroller–General, Muhammed Babandede to wade into the situation being a one-time National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Board Member representing the NIS under NAHCON’s 2nd board.
In his remark, the Comptroller General congratulated Barrister Hassan for his remarkable confirmation as the NAHCON Chairman and prayed for the board’s success.
He said the delay is usually caused by not commencing the preparations for Hajj activities on time therefore urged state governments to cooperate with NAHCON in its yearly quest to conclude Hajj arrangements early.
The enhanced passport is designed to speed up documentation and clearance of travellers. He however drew the Chairman’s attention to the hiccups caused by delay in commencing preparations for Hajj.
Babandede urged the delegation to ensure compliance with registration deadlines. In addition, he called on state governments to cooperate with NAHCON in its yearly quest to conclude Hajj arrangements early by state governments also planning early.
It was therefore agreed by both parties that NAHCON’s command and Control shall work in unison with the NIS to facilitate a speedy screening exercise for pilgrims.
Meanwhile, in furtherance of his familiarization visits to stakeholders, the NAHCON Chairman and his three permanent Commissioners paid a courtesy call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu stressed the importance of cooperation between NAHCON and the ministry in the interest of innocent pilgrims most of whom are first timers in Saudi Arabia, it is therefore a task to make Hajj as easy as possible for them.
Ambassador Dada assured NAHCON delegation that their doors will always remain open for consultation and assistance when needed by the Commission. He prayed that the Almighty makes it easy for them to succeed and they will also be there to assist the team in attaining success.
NAHCON Chairman reiterated his avowed mandate to see that Hajj is made affordable to the poor who struggle to fulfil this religious duty.
He disclosed that his leadership wants the best services to be provided to the pilgrims but at a reduced cost. Therefore, they intend to convince service providers to reconsider some of the chargers in order to bring down Hajj fare.
The Chairman thanked the Minister, Permanent Secretary, NAHCON Board member representing MOFA, Amb. Nura Abba Rimi and other directors of the ministry for giving the NAHCON team audience.