The National hajj Commission of Nigeria have commended the Saudi Arabia Authorities over their special consideration to ease this year’s Hajj exercise for Nigerian Pilgrims.
The Acting Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad made the commendation in his opening remarks at the Pre-Arafat stakeholders meeting in Makkah.
Barrister Muktar outlined some of the considerations to include the facilities provided for the pilgrims in Muna, Arafat and Muzdalifah, and the latitude for continued payment of this year’s Hajj fares up to some few days to the commencement of the exercise.
He also thanked the Nigerian Embassy, and the Consulate for their untiring, year in, year out, cooperation and support for a smooth, hitch free and successful Hajj exercise during any operational activity.
The chairman however call on all stakeholders for more support and cooperation to ensure that this year’s exercise was diligently executed to the satisfaction of all.
He urged the Ulamaa to guard against scholarly arguments that may be confusing to the ordinary Pilgrim who requires to be educated only on the basics of the Hajj rites.
“The Private Tour Operators were also advised to live up to expectation in diligently giving their pilgrims value for their money, warning that any dereliction of responsibility would be met with the full wrath of the stipulated sanctions”. He said.
“Hajj is multi institutional and needs the support of other stakeholders in the society to succeed”
He also called on the pilgrims to tolerate one another in Arafat and imbibe the preaching of the clerics to have a satisfactory pilgrimage.
” There may not be enough space for every pilgrim, therefore, it becomes important that pilgrims must tolerate one another in ensuring they attain acceptable Hajj,” he added.
The Head medical team in the commission, Dr Ibrahim Kana, advised pilgrims to take adequate water to avoid dehydration and other related challenges.
In his address of welcome, the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, retired Justice Issa Dodo, lauded NAHCON and its staff “for a good job” in Hajj activities and called on them to enhance the tempo.
A member of the National Ulama team, Khadijah Gambo, stressed the need for NAHCON to ensure that pilgrims were enlightened, on the ethics of hajj, three months before pilgrimage to avoid “embarrassing situations.”
The Commissioner in charge of operations in the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Saleh, said the number of Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year, increased by 15 per cent.
In another development, The return journey of Nigerian Pilgrims is expected to begin on the seventeenth of this month.
It is expected that the two airlines that airlifted the pilgrims will take their stands at the King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, on the sixteenth of the month to start return journey to Nigeria.
The air carriers are MaxAir and Flynas, as the third, Medview, could not make it due to lack of aircrafts.
The movement of the pilgrims to Muna has already began with Lagos leading.