The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON has urged the media to mobilise a rounded education and enlightenment campaign for pilgrims, ahead of the commencement of departures on Monday.
Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar, chairman of NAHCON made the appeal during a media briefing in the NAHCON Media Centre Ummul Judd, Makkah in Saudi Arabia.
Chairman Mukhtar said it was imperative for the media to propagate to the pilgrims, the message of timeliness, orderliness and compliance with Saudi rules on contents of hand luggage, so as not to cause unnecessary delays to pilgrims of other countries.
About 56,000 Nigerian pilgrims performed this year’s and most came with just two pairs of clothes and one hand luggage.
He said unlike during the departures from Nigeria when pilgrims took off from 15 Airports in Nigeria and landed in 2 different airports in Saudi Arabia, the return journey will be from only Jeddah Airport.
Chairman Mukhtar appealed for vigorous and sustained enlightenment messages, to ensure that all Nigerian pilgrims complied with the norms and processes of screening at the airport.
NAHCON also warned that no check-in luggage heavier than 32kg will be screened for loading on aircrafts.
All pilgrims are allowed one hand luggage of not more than 8kg in weight and must not contain any item that is not allowed on board the aircraft, according to laid down aviation rules.
The Media were therefore enjoined to educate and enlighten all pilgrims on the imperative to comply with the statutory rules.
Thankfully this year, no single incident of death or stampede was recorded during the Jamarah or during the performance of any of the Hajj rites.
NAHCON said it recognised the desire of pilgrims to return home as soon as possible but appealed to the pilgrims and their state welfare boards, to ensure a well co-ordinated, orderly and structured departure for all.
Voice of Nigeria reports that notable improved infrastructure and services included a reduction in travel distances between sacred sites. A trip that used to take up to 5 or 6 hours now takes between 15 and 30 minutes, courtesy of the new Mashaa’ir routes.
For its part, NAHCON pledged to continue to strive to improve on its operations in such areas as feeding, particularly for its officials, Accommodation in Makkah and its medical services.
The Chairman however appealed for more understanding as certain aspects like the provision of transport to convey pilgrims from Muzdalifah to Mina or Jamarah, were beyond the control of the Commission.
Saudi Arabia does not permit vehicular movement between Muzdalifah and Jamarah or between Jamarah and Mina to protect pilgrims.
NAHCON Chairman, its board and management expressed appreciation and gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the entire Nigerian cabinet for the opportunity to spearhead and support throughout the processes before and during the 2018 Hajj.
Chairman Mukhtar also thanked the Saudi Monarch, King Salman, all his ministerial and administrative officials, for hosting a grandly successful 2018 Hajj.
The NAHCON Chairman also prayed for Nigeria to continue to enjoy peace and prosperity, stability and security.
He also prayed for peace and progress in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Muslim Ummah, noting the tremendous improvements recorded in the processes of Hajj.