The federal government has described as commendable the successful outcome of this year’s Hajj facilitated by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, even as it impressed on the stakeholders the need to improve on subsequent operations.
The Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Hajiya Hadiza Abba Ibrahim made the commendation in a speech at the Post-Arafat Stakeholders Meeting in Makkah, in preparation for the return journey of Nigerian pilgrims, who joined millions of other Muslims in performing the just concluded Hajj exercise.
Hajiya Hadiza, represented at the occasion by Ambassador Halliru Sodangi Shu’aib said there was a remarkable improvement this year, compared to previous years, in Hajj administration.
According to her, the successes recorded this year should serve as a springboard for better services in the coming year.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Barrister Abdullah Muhammad Mukhtar, while attributing the success to divine intervention, however, commended the Saudi authorities, State Pilgrims Welfare Boards, stakeholders, the pilgrims for playing their part.
He also commended the Nigerian Embassy, Consulate and NAHCON management staff for their remarkable sense of humility and service to Allah, especially their decision to share their facilities at Masha’ir with some stranded pilgrims.
The NAHCON boss while acknowledging the challenges of shortages of facilities to pilgrims and officials, said the Nigerian resilient and perseverance nature came to the fore and with Allah’s help and guidance the challenges were overcome, or at least minimized.
In their separate speeches at the occasion, Commissioners of Operations, Finance and Administration, Alhaji Abdullah Saleh Modibbo and Alhaji Adebayo Yusuf, gave account of their stewardship, to include, habitable accommodation, feeding and transportation which Nigerian pilgrims never had it so good in the past, like this year, and now the timely release of the scheduled flights of all the air carriers to ensure a smooth and hitch free airlift of pilgrims back to Nigeria.
States Welfare Boards spokesperson Alhaji Abu Rimi who also gave thumbs up to NAHCON for this year’s Hajj arrangements, however, advised that some critical aspects, such as Glucometers should be sufficiently available in future Hajj operations.
The Air carries representative and Managing Director of MedView Airline, Alhaji Munnir Bankole has hinted that the return journey was the most challenging aspect of the airlift exercise.
He therefore, advised that state pilgrims officials should ensure that any set of pilgrims for the next flight should be made ready seventy two hours before their departure time.
Tour operators decried the unpleasant challenges they faced this year, which were somehow tackled but had left a bitter taste in the mouth that required going back to the drawing board to take stock and map out strategies against re occurrence.
It could be recalled that the homeward journey is expected to start from tomorrow with the movement of Gombe State pilgrims to King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah for take off on Thursday, September the seventh.
Meanwhile, to ensure a smooth operation of next year’s Hajj, NAHCON has since constituted a technical working committee with the mandate to secure halls of residence among others.
Barr. Mukhtar who gave this hint said, this was inevitable in the interest of the pilgrims.