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2023 Hajj: ‘ We won’t have any excuse for failure’, Senate assures Nigeria pilgrims

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
16 January 2023   |   8:17 am
Chairman, of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Abubakar Adamu Bulkachuwa has assured Nigerians of hitch-free exercise in the 2023 pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. The hajj, expected to draw more than two million pilgrims to Mecca this year, represents a key rite of passage for Muslims and a massive logistical challenge for Saudi authorities, with colossal crowds cramming into relatively small holy sites. / AFP PHOTO / Bandar Al-DANDANI

…As NAHCON kicks processes of accommodations, catering selection

Chairman, of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Abubakar Adamu Bulkachuwa has assured Nigerians of hitch-free exercise in the 2023 pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

The Senator gave the assurance yesterday in Makkah, Saudi Arabia during the 2023 pre-hajj engagement between the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and representatives of the States Pilgrims Welfare Board and leadership of Tour operators.

Bulkachuwa was confident that with the timely release of general guidelines and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Nigeria and the Kingdom, the pressure that yearly characterizes the process is technically eliminated.

According to him, “We won’t have any excuse for failure. NAHCON will be put to test. Hopefully, the necessary Information has been released by Saudi Arabia, it is now left for us to put our acts together. We expect states to braze up for the exercise and to help the Hajj Commission in the interest of Nigerian Pilgrim’s”.

On the part of the National assembly, the Senate Committee Chairman, Foreign Affairs pledged continued legislative support to NAHCON for remarkable management.

Earlier, stakeholders in the industry at the meeting pledged commitment and collaboration with NAHCON to ensure improved service delivery during the forthcoming Hajj.

Addressing the stakeholders, NAHCON’s Chairman, Barrister Zikrullah Kunle Hassan appealed for support and cooperation, stressed that the restoration of the Hajj allocation to the pre-covid era of 95,000 to Nigeria is a challenge to all parties to work harmoniously in the interest of pilgrims.

“We are happy for the return of our allocation. At the same time, it is a moral burden for us to justify the allocation through an efficient management system and improved service to our pilgrims. Therefore, we need to work as a team to achieve these goals. We have to stick together to go through the process.”

The Executive secretary of Niger State pilgrims welfare board, Alh Umar Makun who spoke on behalf of the states welfare board, emphasized the readiness of participating states to support policies and actions that improved the system.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Hajj Commission has commenced the screening of Accommodation and Catering Service Applicants for the 2023 Hajj.

A statement released by Mousa Ubandawaki, Assistant Director of Information and Publications at NAHCON, said the screening process led by Dr Bala Mohammad of the Mass Communication department, Bayero University, Kano has over 100 applicants seeking to provide accommodation and catering services in Makkah and Medina.

According to the release, the bidders have to meet a share capital of not less than SR 5 million (Five Million Saudi Riyals) for Accommodation and SR2Million ( Two Million Saudi Riyals) for Catering Service, among other criteria before certification.

Besides, the company must show evidence or proof of ownership or Lease Agreement and must also have a working agreement or partnership with a Nigerian entity, while a cognitive experience of 5 years and most importantly with Nigeria is an added advantage.

“The breakdown of the list of Applicants showed that 38 Companies applied for the Makkah Accommodation while 16 applied for the Madina Accommodation. 77 companies applied for Feeding of pilgrims in Makkah and 24 companies bid for Madina Pilgrims.

” NAHCON and the 36 State pilgrims welfare boards and agencies and the Tour operators are expecting to pick from the list of successful Companies for their accommodation and Catering Services during the 2023 Hajj”. Ubandawaki said.