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How NAHCON can address hajj challenges, by MMPN


The National Amirah of Criterion, Alhaja Muyibat Oyefeso, (left); The Former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule; Criterion, Lagos District Amirah, Alhaja Dhikratullah Abiodun Matesun-Oshodi; Chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Barr. Zikrullah Olakunle Hassan; The National Amir of the Companion, Alhaji Adewale Thabit Sonaike and Criterion, Lagos District Amir, Mallam Abdul Ganiyu Abdul Majeed during the yearly seminar of the Lagos District of The Criterion (an association of Muslim women in business and professions) and presentation of award to the newly elected NAHCON Chairman in Lagos.

The Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) has described the appointment of Alhaji Dhikrullah Olakunle Hassan as the new Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), as a game changer for hajj operations in the country.

A congratulatory message signed by National President, MMPN, Abdur-Rahman Balogun and National Secretary, Tajudeen Adebanjo, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Hassan to head the Commission, describing him as a square peg in the square hole.

“We have no doubt that Hassan’s appointment is a square peg in a square hole going by his achievements as the helmsman of the Osun State Muslim Pilgrims Board for eight years.”

Besides, Hassan is an erudite scholar with wider acceptability and one of the contemporary scholars whose views on topical issues are in tandem with Quran and Sunnah.

“We believe that he will live up to the expectations of millions of Nigerian Muslims and surpasses the achievements of his predecessors in office.

“We are not unaware of the landmark successes recorded by immediate past Chairman, Abdullah Mukhtar.

“We urge Hassan to improve on them and fine-tune the hajj process with the support of other members of the Commission.” MMPN advised.

As the watchdog of the society, MMPN implored the new NAHCON Chairman to see how hajj could be brought to the level of commoners, whose financial predicament is a big stumbling block to their desire of performing the last pillar of Islam by seeing to the reduction in Hajj fares.

“We also want the Chairman to look into the man-hours lost boarding of flights to and from Saudi Arabia. Reduction of that time is achievable as been  practised by the private hajj operators and other Nationals.

Similarly, the issue of accommodation in Madinah and Makkah needs to be seriously looked into. Many Nigerians still live at houses far from the Masjid Haram especially in Makkah. This deprived them in observing five daily prayers in Masjid Haram and engages in Tawaf (Circumambulation of the Ka’aba) as many times as they wish and also denied them of some facilities.

“As said that data is life, many pilgrims do spend their BTA to buy data instead of using it for other meaningful things.

“Meal is another big challenge for pilgrims especially in Madinah, Muna and Arafat where NAHCON is in charge of providing meal for all the pilgrims.

“Mr Chairman, kindly take cognisance of diverse tribe going for hajj, hence choice of meals should not be generalised.

“Those who get the contracts of providing the meal must take note of what certain tribe loves to eat and provide it instead of one-type-of-meal fits all,” It stated.

MMPN assured the new chairman of partnering with the commission in other areas such as media awareness and advocacy and hajj logistics geared towards improving hajj services in Nigeria.

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