Nigeria has retained the 95,000 allocation it got during the last pilgrimage for the 2024 Hajj. The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced the allocation during its zoom meeting with the leadership of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) yesterday,leadership reports.
The meeting which officially marked the start of the 2024 Hajj was attended by the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Hajj, Hon Jafar Mohammed, representatives of the chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Abubakar Sani Bello and the Nigerian Consul-General in Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Bello Abdulkadir.
Deputy director of information and publications, NAHCON, Alhaji Mousa Ubandawaki, in a press statement made available to media houses after the meeting, said Nigeria is expected to finalise all arrangements and negotiation with service providers including the catering, accommodation and transportation within the next 120 days.
Ubandawaki added that NAHCON will among other things submit the lists of medical and other officials to the Saudi’s authority very early as the Kingdom has plans to work with the two bodies very closely.
He said the commission was also urged to ensure that only air carriers with at least two aircrafts on its fleet and a back- up are appointed or allowed to participate in the 2024 Hajj operation.
Leading the Saudi team, Dr Badr Mohammed Al- Somi, urged the commission to strive to meet up with the timeline in order to enable the Kingdom make adequate plans and also avoid the experience 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,” he said.
He promised that the refund sought by NAHCON was being worked on and that as soon as the result of its investigative committee was released, it would be acted upon accordingly.
Earlier in his address, chairman of 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 reiterated 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 delicacies they were used to at home.
Hassan also sought for the support and assistance of the Saudi’s Ministry of Hajj in securing the refund paid to the General Authority on Saudi Aviation (GACA) on behalf of the Nigerian Carriers in 2019, and appealed to the ministry to review its decision by allowing Nigerian pilgrims to depart through the King Abdul- Aziz International Airport Jeddah instead of Madina as that would create bottlenecks and logistics problems for the pilgrims.