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Yunus Olawale

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced the allocation of 95,000 Hajj seats to Nigeria in the forthcoming 2024 Hajj.

In a Press release by Malam Mousa Ubandawaki, the Deputy Director of Information and Publications of the Commission, the confirmation was made during a virtual meeting held between the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

By this affirmation, the seats earlier allocated to the states by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria under the leadership of Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan have come to stay and may not be altered. In a meeting held with the officials of State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards, Agencies, and Commissions on September 5, 2023, at the Commission’s Headquarters, the NACHON Management took proactive steps to prepare ahead, which is an indication of its  readiness and a way to ensure hitch-free Hajj operations both on- and off-shore in Nigeria.  In the meeting, NAHCON allocated seats to each state of the federation and Abuja, except Abia and Akwa Ibom States.

The Following Are The Slots That Nahcon Allocated To Each State, Including Federal  Capital Territory And The Armed Forces Islamic Directorate; Adamawa 2,488, Anambra 15, Bauchi 3,364, Bayelsa 58, Benue 231, Borno 2,691, Cross River 67, Delta 64, Ebonyi 50, Edo 412, Ekiti 246, Enugu 14, Fct 4,368, Gombe 2,506, Imo 199, Jigawa 1,518, Kaduna 6,004, Kano 5,934, Katsina 4,513, Kebbi 4,752, Kogi 691, Kwara 3,419, Lagos 3,517, Nasarawa 2,010, Niger 3592, Ogun 1191, Ondo 491, Osun 1,764, Oyo 1,386, Plateau 1,345, Rivers 34, Sokoto 4,996, Taraba 1,586, Yobe 1,960, Zamfara 2,996, Armed Forces 528.

The virtual meeting discussion, also had the following high points:

Nigeria is expected to finalize all arrangements and negotiations with Service providers, including catering, accommodation, and transportation, within the next 120 days.

NAHCON should submit the lists of Medical and other officials to the Kingdom early, as the Kingdom has plans to work with the two bodies very closely.

Ensure that only Air Carriers with at least two aircraft in their fleet and a backup are appointed or allowed to participate in the 2024 Hajj operation.

Dr. Badr Mohammed Al-Somi, the team Lead of the Saudi Hajj Authorities, urged the Commission to strive to meet the timeline in order to enable the Ministry to make an adequate plan and also avoid the experiences and incidents witnessed in this year’s Hajj.  “We want all Hajj Missions to be proactive in meeting our time frame, so that we won’t allow what happened previously and also to give the missions sufficient time to examine the services before Pilgrims’ arrival”.

In his address at the meeting, the Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan called on the Saudi Authorities to expedite action on the refund of the feeding and tent services not provided in the Mashair. He further reiterates the need for the Kingdom to disengage from the provision of feeding service in the Masha’ir and allow the Country to take over Muna and Arafat to afford the Pilgrims opportunities to enjoy the delicacies they were used to at home. In the same vein, the Commission appealed to the Saudi Ministry for an upward review of the number of Tour operators and companies to be allowed to conduct Hajj from 10 to 100 companies, saying that such action will enable the Commission to organize the agencies for effective management and control.

Alhaji Hassan also called on the Ministry to review its decision by allowing Nigerian Pilgrims to depart through the King Abdul-Aziz International Airport Jeddah instead of Madinah as that would create bottlenecks and logistics problems for the Pilgrims. The Chairman asked for the support and assistance of the Ministry in securing the refund paid to the General Authority on Saudi Aviation (GACA) on behalf of the Nigerian Carriers in 2019.

The  virtual meeting which officially mark the starts of the 2024 Hajj was attended by the Chairman, House Committee on Hajj, Honorable Jafar Mohammed, representatives of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Abubakar Sani Bello as well as the Nigerian Consul-General in Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Bello Abdulkadir.

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