The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria says it is now finalising arrangements to ensure a hitch-free Hajj for Nigerian pilgrims.
Co-ordinator of the Commission’s operations in Makkah, Alhaji Sulaiman Usman told Voice of Nigeria on Tuesday night in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, that all necessary committees and their teams were already on ground for the operation.
He said the teams and committees were also working closely with the state pilgrims welfare boards, to give Nigerian pilgrims performing the 2018 Hajj, value for their money.
Arrangements finalised so far include “accommodations for pilgrims in Makkah and other holy sites, feeding of the pilgrims with particular attention to people with special dietary needs and transport for the movement of pilgrims from Makkah to Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah and back to Makkah,” Alhaji Sulaiman stated.
Commenting on the high quality of food being provided to pilgrims this year, NAHCON’s Makkah Operations Co-ordinator explained that the Commission as the regulator of Hajj services for Nigeria, had interviewed and screened numerous caterers who applied to provide their services.
Only eight of such caterers met NAHCON’s criteria and were pre-selected for the 2018 Hajj feeding programme.
Alhaji Sulaiman said: “This was done in conjuction with the state pilgrims welfare boards who were responsible for the actual contractual agreements.”
The NAHCON Makkah operations Co-ordinator said to complement the feeding arrangement, top standard hotels were also secured to house Nigerian pilgrims in all the locations for this year’s Hajj.
“We have been holding series of meetings to conclude the final stages of arrangements for our pilgrims in Mina, where they will be housed in tents. That is being finalised before the arrival of all our pilgrims on or before the 5th day of Dhul Hijja (August 17). In sha Allah, I hope you will be part of the team when we go to inspect and confirm the arrangements made on the ground,” he said.
For the 2018 Hajj, the government of Saudi Arabia has directed that the visit to cast the stones in Jamrah after descending the climb up the Mount Arafat, shall be made in batches and per country.
This is part of measures to reduce pilgrims’ stampede, in which annually, pilgrims suffer injuries or die.
Alhaji Sulaiman said as soon as the schedule of the visit to Jamrah is released, NAHCON’s National Media Team for the 2018 Hajj will be briefed accordingly.
He also advised all pilgrims to remain law abiding, stay loyal to instructions provided by both NAHCON and state officials and to continue to increase their knowledge of the process and rites of Hajj.