NAHCON Chair Assures Best Accommodation, Indigenous Meals, Others for Nigerian Pilgrims

By Alabidun Shuaib AbdulRahman

The Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan has assured that the commission has implemented measures to ensure that this year’s Hajj is the best in terms of logistics, welfare, safety, feeding, and accommodation for pilgrims.

He also announced that this year’s pilgrims would be served indigenous meals, allowing them to enjoy their favourite Nigerian foods throughout the lengthy period of the pilgrimage.

He made the disclosure during the official flag-off of the 2023 Hajj exercise at the Pilgrims Terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Thursday.

During his address at the event, the NAHCON chairman stated, “We were able to negotiate a reasonable price for hotel accommodation in Makkah, knowing that numerous hotels have been demolished for future development. Additionally, we have maintained the standard in Madinah, where our pilgrims are lodged in 5-star hotels within the prestigious Markaziyya vicinity surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque.”

Hassan, who also assured Nigerian pilgrims of a seamless exercise, stated that all of them will be airlifted to the Holy Land within the next 25 days.

To avoid any delays in the airlifting process, Hassan said the commission has been working on ensuring that the approximately 15 take-off points/cities across the country are adequately prepared to support the plan.

He expressed gratitude for successfully resolving the challenge caused by the closure of the Sudan airspace, which necessitated a re-routing from Nigeria to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The NAHCON boss acknowledged the cooperation of the federal government, airlines, state pilgrims’ welfare boards, and the pilgrims themselves, in finding a satisfactory solution to this issue.

He further noted that, in collaboration with the Mutawwif’s Company for Pilgrims of Non-Arab African Countries (Muassasa), the Commission has established mechanisms to ensure the comfort and safety of Nigerian pilgrims.

Expressing appreciation for the immense support provided by President Muhammadu Buhari, he called on the pilgrims to represent Nigeria in a positive light by adhering to the rules and regulations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In his goodwill message, the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Saad III, urged the pilgrims to serve as good ambassadors of Nigeria and Islam during their visit to the Holy Land.

Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, expressed gratitude to NAHCON for their successful renegotiation with the airlines, despite the prolonged journey caused by the closure of the Sudanese airspace.

Chairman Hassan concluded by assuring Nigerians that this year’s Hajj would not merely be a collection of stories but a testament to success. He reaffirmed the commission’s commitment to providing the best accommodation, feeding, and transportation facilities for the pilgrims, despite the longer route necessitated by the crisis in Sudan. He also urged the states to adequately enlighten their pilgrims regarding the situation.

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