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Hajj: There’ll be no excuse for failure, Senate assures pilgrims

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
29 January 2023   |   3:22 am
Chairman, Senate committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Abubakar Adamu Bulkachuwa has assured Nigerians of a hitch-free exercise in the 2023 pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Pilgrims heading to Saudi Arabia

• NAHCON, Stakeholders To Collaborate For Improved Service Delivery

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

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

Bulkachuwa expressed confidence that with the timely release of general guidelines and signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigeria and the Kingdom, the usual pressure that yearly characterises the process has been 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 brace up for the exercise and to help the Hajj Commission in the interest of Nigerian Pilgrims.”

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 present 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. He 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 on us to justify the allocation through 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,” Hassan said. 

Executive Secretary of Niger State pilgrims welfare board, Alh. Umar Makun, who spoke on behalf of the states welfare board, emphasised their readiness of participating states to support policies and actions that would improve the system.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Hajj Commission has commenced the screening of accommodation and catering service applicants for the 2023 Hajj.

In a statement by Assistant Director, Information and Publications, NAHCON, Mousa Ubandawaki, said the screening process led by Dr. Bala Mohammad of 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 the share capital of not less than SR 5Million (Five Million Saudi Riyals) for accommodation and SR 2Million (Two Million Saudi Riyals) for catering service, among other criteria before certification.

Besides, the company must show e proof of ownership or Lease Agreement and must also have a working agreement with a Nigerian entity, while a cognitive experience of five years, most importantly within 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 applied for Medina pilgrims.

“NAHCON and the 36 State pilgrims welfare boards and agencies and the Tour operators are expected to pick from the list of successful companies for their accommodation and catering services during the 2023 Hajj,” Ubandawaki said.

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