•Outbound journey begins today
•7,736 to embark on Ziyarah to Madinah
By Ishola Balogun, Reporting from Saudi Arabia
The Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia has congratulated Nigeria and her contingent to the Kingdom for a successful Hajj adding that after two years of interregnum, Nigeria was among the few countries that participated in the annual pilgrimage.
Also, chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Bulkachuwa his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Hon Abubakar Nalaraba said despite the challenges of airlifting, it was indeed a success.
According to Bulkachuwa, “NAHCON did its best, we all strive for perfection and aspire for the best, but man proposes, while God disposes the affairs of man. Only Allah is perfect.
Nalaraba on its part stated that there is no success without its challenges.
They spoke during post-Arafat meeting with stakeholders held at Al-Raqiyyah Hall, Khalidiyyah 3, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday.
Bulkachuwa said: “I must say that we always strive for perfection, but what happened was not their design, I recall when he the board took over, they were full of hope, even the chairman promised to bring down the cost of Hajj. He never expected the dollar to have risen as this, just as he never anticipated the increase in VAT by Saudi Arabia. Now that Hajj price is high, let us take it as act of God.
“There were issues of late communication as well. All countries in the world had little time to prepare.
“My fellow citizens, please bear with the government and the commission.”
On the issue of poor feeding, Bulkachuwa said the agency in charge of feeding pilgrims in Madinah and Mina (Muassasa) has agreed to allow Nigerian caterers handled pilgrims’ food.
On his part, the Chairman , House committee on Pilgrimage, Hon Abubakar Nalaraba said “There is no successful hajj without challenges,” while urging NAHCON to airlift the pilgrims back home in good time.
He assured that his Committee will continue to work closely with the Commission for improved and successful Hajj operations.
Earlier, the Chairman, National Hajj Commission, NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan thanked Allah for the success despite some challenges.
He hinted that the uncredited accounts of the Association of Hajj Operators Union of Nigeria, (AHOUN) which led to the cancellation of some flights have now been credited.
He stated that this was disclosed to the Commission during a meeting with the Nigerian stakeholders, Hajj Managers and the Saudi agency in charge earlier before on Wednesday few hours before the post-Arafat meeting.
He assured that the homeward airlifting will begin on July 15 with Borno pilgrims who left the country on June 9 in the inaugural flight, adding it would be “first -in-first-out,” basis.
Alhaji Hassan said a lot of lessons have been learnt from the 2022 Hajj that would aid better performance in the subsequent exercises.
He disclosed that no fewer than 7,736 pilgrims will embark on visitation to Madinah in the next few days, before their turn for airlifts back home.
He however thanked Ambassador Lawal, Senator Adamu Hon Nalaraba, State Pilgrims Boards as well as the Private Tour Operators for interfacing with NAHCON representatives at various times to overcome the challenges.
NAHCON commends Ogun pilgrims on discipline
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has commended the Ogun State pilgrims and the Board for their discipline, tolerance and cooperation at the holy pilgrimage.
The Monitoring Team of the Commission led by the Commissioner, Planning, Research, Information and Library Services (PRILS), Sheikh Momoh Suleman Imonikhe gave the commendation during team’s visitation to the State’s Tent at MUNA, promising to look into various observations and complaints of the Pilgrims towards best services and improvement in future exercise.
He added that NAHCON has learnt a lot of lessons and its determined not to have a repeat of the situation, saying that the management knows that no number of apologies could pay for the disappointment some Muslim faithful experienced due to their inability to perform hajj exercise.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of the Board, Alhaji Salau Dauda appreciated the Team for the visit, assuring that the State pilgrims Board would continue to maintain the standard in terms of good character and service delivery to the pilgrims.