July 14, 2024

Nigeria’s Hajj Commission to reduce number of pilgrims’ days in Saudi Arabia

The Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Mallam Jalal Arabi, has disclosed plans by the Commission to reduce the number of days to be spent by Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season.

Speaking to journalists shortly after he arrived at the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Madinah, he frowned at the situation in the past whereby Nigerians would be seen loitering about in the Holy Land while their counterparts from other countries would have been evacuated back home.

Arabi said having succeeded in transporting 100 per cent of Nigerian pilgrims direct to Madinah before the expiration of deadline set by the Saudi authorities, the next target is to reduce the number of days that Nigerians spend each time they come to perform pilgrimage.

“In the past, you see Nigerians in disarray, loitering about while their counterparts from other countries would have been evacuated back home.

“It is a very good starting and by God’s grace, we will get good results,” he said.

The chairman went further: “I think this day will go down in history as I don’t want to say the first time in history but the first time in a very long time since the commencement of Hajj preparations to say that 72 hours before the closure of Saudi air space, 100 per cent of our pilgrims are here.

“At least those in our cluster and we hope the tour operators too will be able to beat the target as well.

“Of course, that was able to be achieved through the cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders, both the public and the private sector.”

He commended the Presidency and the National Assembly as well as air carriers for their tremendous support towards the success of the ongoing Hajj operations.

On the welfare of the pilgrims, the chairman said that the Commission had put adequate arrangements for feeding and medical care services for pilgrims at Masha’eer which is expected to start on June 13.

“We are hopeful that the principle of Tafweej will come to play where pilgrims are group for ease of movement and identification.

“Secondly, like we said we have come with a new innovation in monitoring and distribution of food which is very critical and fundamental.

“In fact, this is one of the reasons we won’t even stay in Madinah, a few members of my team and I are now heading to Makkah to do an assessment of what happened, the report we have received based on what had happened,” he stressed.

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