NAHCON seeks partnership in pilgrims’ management
In a bid to expand the scope of cooperation on pilgrim matters, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has commenced a discussion with some countries.
As part of the consultation, NAHCON Chairman, Abdullahi Mohammed Mukhtar, led a delegation to the Pakistani and Niger Republic Hajj missions in Makkah.
The delegation included the Charge d’ Affairs of the Nigerian Embassy in Jeddah, Muhammad Yunusa, the National Commissioner in charge of policy, personnel, management and finance, Ibrahim Yusuf Adebayo and secretary to the commission, Dr. Muhammad Bello Tambuwal.
Others included the chairmen and executive secretaries of five states’ Pilgrims Welfare Boards from Adamawa, Borno, Katsina, Delta, Ebonyi, Nasarawa and Kaduna states.
The parley was informed by the recent faceoff between the country and the Saudi Arabian authorities, over the seizure of e-wristbands belonging to some Nigerian pilgrims.
The incident took place at the Medina International Airport.
He added that Nigeria had earlier indicated its intention to protest against the action of the Saudi customs officials.
He explained that the e-wristband initiative was adopted by the NAHCON to mitigate the issue of missing pilgrims, which the Saudi security had over the years failed to curb.
Besides, he said the band contained comprehensive details about the pilgrims, such as blood group, history of illnesses and other necessary information.
Mukhtar said the visit was to explore other areas of solving the shortcoming that may arise in the country’s hajj.
Pakistan is one of the few countries in the non-Arab countries that contribute a large number of pilgrims to the annual pilgrimages.
He said the visit was to enable NAHCON to learn from the process adopted by other countries, especially the non-Arab countries in the management of their pilgrims.
The chairman explained that the consultation was also to promote trade between Nigeria and other countries, improve transportation, accommodation and other services while performing the hajj.
Mukhtar said the need for the synergy of ideas had become necessary, in view of the obstacles often placed by the Saudi authorities on pilgrims from other countries.
He decried the delay, or most times “non-response” by the Saudi emergency services to distress calls by pilgrims from other countries.