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MAI-HAJJ advocates transparency in allocation of Hajj seats

By Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja
17 April 2015   |   11:07 am
A non-governmental organization, Media Awareness Initiative for Hajj (MAIHAJJ), has cautioned all the 36 states of the Federation, FCT, Armed Forces and other beneficiaries of 2015 Hajj seats allocation against racketeering which has become a common complaint in recent years.
Hajj (MAIHAJJ)

Hajj (MAIHAJJ)

As Nigeria gets 76,000 slots

A non-governmental organization, Media Awareness Initiative for Hajj (MAIHAJJ), has cautioned all the 36 states of the Federation, FCT, Armed Forces and other beneficiaries of 2015 Hajj seats allocation against racketeering which has become a common complaint in recent years.

As part of preparations for the 2015 Hajj operation, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Wednesday released the official figures approved for Nigerian pilgrims wishing to perform this year’s holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, the Commission’s Head of Media, Malam Uba Mana said a total of 76,000 seats was approved by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Nigeria for Hajj 2015, out of which 66,000 were allocated to the 36 States, FCT and the Armed Forces, while the remaining 10,000 were set aside for International Pilgrims (Tour Operators).

To this end, the Commission advised intending pilgrims to contact their various State Pilgrims’ Welfare Agencies/Boards/ Commissions with a view to making payments for seats and other necessary arrangements.

The statement also advised states to give priority to intending pilgrims embarking on the journey for the first time, and to consider the health condition of the intending pilgrims during the sale of the seats, as requested by the Saudi Authorities.

MAIHAJJ believes that the early release of the allocations by NAHCON will pave way for early preparations amongst states, FCT, Armed Forces and indeed international pilgrims (Tour Operators) and guarantee success of the operation.

The body, in a statement signed by its national officials – Garba Ubale Dambatta (chairman) and Kabiru Yusuf (publicity secretary) – draws the attention of State Pilgrims Boards/Agencies on the need for high level of transparency and fairness in the distribution or sale of the seats in their domains especially in this era of change that is blowing heavily.

Besides, MAIHAJJ wants Pilgrim Welfare Agencies to watch against people involved in making deposits only to get the seats and sell them at an exorbitant price on the long run or during rush hours.

MAIHAJJ equally supports arrangements under which intending pilgrims embarking on the spiritual journey for the first time in their life, be given the chance, stressing that “Hajj is an important pillar in Islam a Muslim is expected to undertake at least once in his lifetime.

As such, there is need for preference to be given to people who have never been to Hajj before considering those who made Hajj a regular yearly business/religious trip.” The group commends states like Kano, Lagos and Gombe that took the lead in giving priority to first-timers in the sale of Hajj seats in recent times and urged other states to emulate.

Similarly, the association commends the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) for early release of 2015 Hajj seats as approved by the Saudi Arabian authorities. While calling for intensified efforts towards arresting the trend of allowing pregnant women undertaking such a strenuous exercise like Hajj, MAIHAJJ also advises states to adhere to age and health conditions of pilgrims to guide the screening and sale of the seats to individuals as directed by the Saudi Arabian authorities to ensure a hitch free operation this year.