NAHCON plans to shorten Hajj duration for nigerian pilgrims

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Chairman, Mallam Jalal Arabi, has revealed that the Commission intends to decrease the number of days Nigerian pilgrims will stay in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj season.

Speaking to journalists upon his arrival at Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, he criticized the previous practice where Nigerian pilgrims lingered in the Holy Land while pilgrims from other countries had already been evacuated home.

Arabi said having succeeded in transporting 100 per cent of Nigerian pilgrims direct to Madinah before the expiration of deadlines set by the Saudi authorities, the next target is to reduce the number of days that Nigerians spend each time they come to perform pilgrimage.

“In the past, you see Nigerians in disarray, lingering about while their counterparts from other countries would have been evacuated back home.

“It is a very good start and by God’s grace, we will get good results,” he said.

The chairman went further: “I think this day will go down in history as I don’t want to say the first time in history but the first time in a very long time since the commencement of Hajj preparations to say that 72 hours before the closure of Saudi air space, 100 per cent of our pilgrims are here.

“At least those in our cluster and we hope the tour operators too will be able to beat the target as well.

“Of course, that was able to be achieved through the cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders, both the public and the private sector.”

He commended the Presidency and the National Assembly as well as air carriers for their tremendous support towards the success of the ongoing Hajj operations.

READ ALSO: RMAFC pushes for Local Governments autonomy

On the welfare of the pilgrims, the chairman said that the Commission had put adequate arrangements for feeding and medical care services for pilgrims at Masha’eer which is expected to start on June 13.

“We are hopeful that the principle of Tafweej will come to play where pilgrims are group for ease of movement and identification.

“Secondly, like we said we have come with a new innovation in monitoring and distribution of food which is very critical and fundamental.

“In fact, this is one of the reasons we won’t even stay in Madinah, a few members of my team and I are now heading to Makkah to do an assessment of what happened, the report we have received based on what had happened,” he stressed