The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) emphasizes the utmost importance of complete compliance with Saudi regulations for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage. In line with this commitment, we would like to highlight the significant measures taken by the Saudi Authorities to ensure the safety, security, and orderly conduct of the Minna and Jamarat exercise.
This call was done during the organized Practical Demonstration and Rehearsal for grouping and movement during the days of Minna to pelt the Jamaraat organized by the Company of Mutawwifs for Pilgrims from African non-Arab Company on Thursday 4th Dhul Hijjah at the Mina Tent City. The primary objective of the demonstration by the Mutawwif Company in collaboration with the Hajj Ministry and Saudi Security and Civil Defense Departments, is to prevent any repeat of the previous stampede incidents.
The exercise which was led by the head of the Jamaraat exercise, Dr. Muhammad Zamzamy, underscored the need for Nigeria and all other countries to abide by the plans of the Saudi Authorities to ensure the safe conduct of the exercise which is expected to be performed by over 2 million pilgrims at the same time. The Saudi Authorities have designed and perfected a system of systematic movement of pilgrims led by appointed guides in strict compliance with approved movement timetables and route schedules. The first of the guidelines was that after pilgrims arrive Muzdalifah after Arafat, everyone must wait to be conveyed in buses back to Minna. No one is allowed to move directly to the Jamaraat on the 10th of Dhul Hajj.
According to Dr. Zamzamy, Nigeria was divided amongst 18 field offices that contained between 5,000 and 7,000 pilgrims. Each field office will liaise with the States or Tour Operator companies under it to divide its pilgrims into groups of 188 pilgrims only. Each of these groups will have a guide from the Field Office and an Assistant from the officials or pilgrims who understands Arabic and the pilgrims local language that will lead the group at their appointed time from their tents in Minna, through their approved route to the Jamaraat and back to their tents.
Each group guide will hold a signpost containing three (3) fundamental pieces of information that every official and pilgrim should understand. The first (1st) and topmost is the logo of the Mutawwif Company; The Second (2nd) is the Field Office Number boldly written in red and the third (3rd) is the group number.
For the safety of Nigerians and all pilgrims from various parts of the world, this system needs to be abided by completely. It is imperative that all pilgrims strictly adhere to
- The stipulated time assigned for each group, follow the leader and stick only to the designated approved Routes. No pilgrim or group of pilgrims should go to the Jamaraat alone or in groups other than the approved Field office groups.
- Maintain the composition of 188 pilgrims per group, with an assistant who understands the language of the group.
- Under no circumstances should a group stop during the journey, even if any individual faces an issue. Only the affected pilgrim and one supporter should be left behind.
To monitor and ensure compliances, the Saudi Authorities have deployed a dedicated team of 3,000 supervisors to monitor and evaluate the level of compliance of each Hajj contingent with the Pilgrims grouping and movement instructions for Jamaraat. These supervisors have been carefully selected from various arms and departments for the sole purpose of ensuring the safety and security of the pilgrims during their journey to and from the Jamarat sites.
NAHCON emphasizes the significance of strict adherence and compliance with the rules and regulations set forth by the Saudi Authorities. These guidelines are in place to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of all pilgrims. Any deviation from it exposes the pilgrims and all other pilgrims to risk of stampede. We urge all Nigerian pilgrims to internalize and embrace these teachings, for a successful and incident-free Hajj experience.
NAHCON along with State Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Private Travel Agencies remain committed to working hand in hand with the Saudi Authorities to guarantee the highest standards of safety and security during Hajj 2023.
We wish all Nigerian pilgrims a blessed and fulfilling pilgrimage.
Muhammad Ahmad Musa,
Principal Information Officer, NAHCON Makkah Operations