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In a press releases by Fatima Sanda Usara, an Assistant Director, at the Public Affairs department of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, indicates the the 1443 AH/ Hajj 2022 operations ended in a remarkable style. She writes.Nigeria’s last flight for 2022 Hajj, an Azman Air with 319 pilgrims from NAHCON, Kaduna, Kano and officials from the various states and departed King Abdul Aziz International Airport Jeddah, on Sunday 7th August 2023 at about 12: 00 noon, Nigeria time and touched down in Nigeria few hours later. The trip signifies the end of 2022 Hajj Operations for Nigeria. The flight was six days ahead of the deadline of Hajj airlift as set by the Saudi authorities, and three days earlier than the planned deadline set by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON. The inbounds flights only witnessed two cancellations with maximum delay of six hours.In a ceremony to mark the end of the operation, the Chairman Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan attributed success of the return trips to Almighty Allah and determination of his board and staff members to ensure hitch free inbounds of pilgrims.

The pilgrims on mount Arafah

He thanked the Federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for his tireless support for MAHCON and other governmental agencies while the 2022 operations lasted.The Chairman acknowledged that there were challenges during the outbound trips from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia resulting from time constraint as well as other unforeseen hiccups such as the IBAN issue that affected some Tour Operators. Nonetheless, this has spurred the Commission to greater heights with lessons learnt. He stressed that the Commission would commence early planning and would embark on prequalification of airlines sooner than later to allow the carriers to cross any unforeseen hurdles in good time. He also stressed that the Commission would ensure that any contractual agreement signed is fulfilled as agreed.In another development, the Chairman of the Company of Mutawifs for Pilgrims from African Non-Arab Countries, Mr. Ahmad Sindi at a dinner function eulogized Nigerian Hajj mission as the most important delegation to the company. In his words, “Nigeria is very special to the company”. He lamented that certain things were not done the way the company wanted but reassured that the pilgrims deserved better service and this they are ready to provide irrespective of cost, next hajj.Consequently, the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Hassan made three formal requests from the Chairman of the Company of Mutawifs at the occasion. And these are: timely communication on 2023 Hajj guidelines, a review of the feeding arrangemenst in Masha’ir, and tr quick resolution of the IBAN blockade that deterred some Tour Operators’ pilgrims from participating in the year’s Hajj. The Chairman also raised the issue of insufficient space and proper marking of conveniences locations in Muna.Responding, MrSindi assured NAHCON that 2023 Hajj will witness complete restructuring in contrast to this year’s hasty arrangements. He also expressed confidence that the Hajj quota will return to status quo ante. Therefore, he recommended that NAHCON starts working on the original figure unless instructed otherwise. He further informed that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had already engaged engineering companies on upgrade of facilities in Muna, Arafat and Muzdalifa. The upgrade will be carried out in phases. However, his company has sent out a proposal to carry out the upgrade in the interest of its pilgrims even if the upgrade will be only temporary before the phasal engineering project reaches our site.The Mu’assasa Chairman revealed that the company will next year roll out scientific feeding plans that will take care of quantity, quality and the number of calories contained in the meal. He also assured that there will be a pre delivery monitoring where compromise will not be tolerated at all unlike the situation this year which forced everyone to accept the available option.


Abdulfattah Abdussalam

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