By Hudu Yakubu, Abuja
The Nigerian Federal Capital Territory Administration has maintained its lead for two consecutive years as the overall best among the states and armed Forces of Federation in Hajj operations.
The Management of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) stated this while presenting an award of honour to the FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board in recognition of its outstanding performance in hajj 2018.
The Award was presented to the Director of the Board, Mallam Muhammad Bashir by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi who represented the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawal during the stakeholders meeting on 2019 hajj exercise and Award Presentation in Abuja.
The FCT won and retained its first position in recognition of its superb management of hajj matters in 2018 in all aspects which included education, orientation, transportation arrangements in Saudi Arabia, feeding arrangements, Information management, accommodation and camping of pilgrims and general welfare of the FCT contingents during the exercise both in Nigeria and in the holy land of Saudi Arabia.
This is the second time the board took the first position as the board also won the similar award of excellence for outstanding performance in 2017 hajj operation.
Reacting to the award, the Director of the board, Mallam Muhammad Bashir expressed delight and pledged the determination of the entire staff of the board to improve on the services to the FCT contingent during this year’s hajj operation.
Mallam Bashir said the award would ginger the entire staff to work harder to ensure a hitch free 2019 hajj exercise.
He expressed his appreciation to the management of the entire FCT Administration that supported the board to clinch and retain the award for two consecutive years.
The board has also commenced refunds to intending pilgrims who paid through the board for this year’s hajj following the reduction of the hajj fare earlier announced by the NAHCON.
A statement from the board spokesman, Muhammad Lawal Aliyu stated that intending pilgrims who paid before the reduction are to forward their account details and photocopy of their evidence of payment to the area officer where they made the payment to process the refund.
He said the new Hajj fare for this year’s hajj is N1,497,480.65k (One Million, Four Hundred and Ninety Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty Naira, Sixty Five Kobo) only.
Aliyu said in order to ensure transparency and accountability, intending pilgrims without bank account were requested to write to authorise the board to pay the refund to the account number of their choice.
Malam Aliyu hinted that the board has also extended the deadline for the registration of intending pilgrims to 14th of July, while airlift of FCT intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia was due to commence on 10th of July.
He revealed that the board was to administer inoculation of the intending pilgrims this weekend at the permanent hajj camp Bassan Jiwa from 8 oclock in the morning.
A time table released by the board indicated that intending pilgrims from Abaji, Kwali, Gwagwalada and Bwari area councils would be inoculated on Saturday 29th of June while intending pilgrims from Headquaters, Kuje and Abuja Municipal Area Councils are to report on Sunday 30th June 2019.