95,000 Hajj slots Allocated to Nigeria by Saudi Arabia

Hajj, is the fifth pillar of Islam and the most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity. Prior to the 2023 Holy pilgrimage, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has restored 95,000 Hajj slots to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON.

This was said in a statement released on Wednesday in Abuja by Mousa Ubandawaki, Assistant Director of Information and Publications at NAHCON.

“The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has granted Nigeria its usual allocation of 95,000 slots in 2023 holy pilgrimage.

“The hopes of many prospective Nigeria pilgrims to perform the 2023 Hajj may have been answered as the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has approved the pre-COVID-19 allocation NAHCON.

“The good news was announced by Bahauddeen Alwani, the Director-General in charge of Hajj Missions at the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, during a preparatory meeting for hajj via a video conference with the Chairman of NAHCON, Malam Zukrullah Hassan.

“Other guidelines released for the 2023 Hajj by the Ministry included the removal of age barrier or limit and cancellation of PCR Test for the Hajj,” Mr Ubandawaki said.

Similarly, he said that the Saudi Hajj Ministry had also granted the commission the right of choice of package for pilgrims’ services from the Mutawwiffs of African Non-Arab countries.

“In addition, the Ministry also stated that henceforth, any payment to service providers must be through the e-track or e-wallet platforms as the Kingdom will not take responsibilities for payment outside the two platforms,” he said.

In his response, the NAHCON’s Chairman, Hassan expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the early preparation and restoring of the country’s Hajj allocation.

He said that it was heartwarming that the Kingdom through the Ministry of Hajj has restored the hope and confidence of many prospective Nigerian pilgrims that desired to perform the Hajj this year.

He also thanked the Ministry for its consistent supports and cooperation in serving the guest of Allah.

The chairman, however, appealed to the Ministry to allow the commission to handle the feeding management during the Mashair activities.

This, according to him, will enable the commission to serve Nigeria’s pilgrims better than what obtained at the 2022 Hajj.

Poor Feeding Service: Saudi Refunds NAHCON N107million

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has received a reimbursement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the amount of N107,864,567 (SR542,033) due to the substandard food service provided by Mutawwif firms to pilgrims from African non-Arab nations during the 2022 hajj.

The country made the payment after receiving many letters from the company hired during the hajj activity, according to a statement from NAHCON on Tuesday, which confirmed the refund of the money.

Mutawwifs are Saudi companies responsible for the accommodation, transportation and feeding of Nigerian and other African pilgrims in Muna and Arafat during the hajj.

The Nigerian Hajj body said, “In a letter signed by the chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr Ahmad Bin Abbas Sindi, to the Chairman/ CEO of the Commission, Zikirullah Hassan, it was revealed that the refund was due to the poor quality of service and in order for the company to maintain the National relationship between the commission, the sum of S R542, 033 has been deducted from the amount of the Masha’ir feeding contract.”

Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan noted that the development was exciting as it vindicated the commission’s tenacious struggle to right the wrongs done to Nigerian pilgrims during the Hajj by the Muassassah, especially in the feeding arrangement and the quality of services rendered during the period.

He said, “I really want to thank my counterparts from the Mutawwifs for this role in ensuring that they refunded the money paid for services not rendered or poorly delivered.”

On how the refunded money would be disbursed, NAHCON’s Assistant Director of Information and Publication Division, Mousa Ubandawaki, said the commission was yet to collect the money but noted that when collected, the money would be given to states’ pilgrims’ boards whose responsibility it is to identify and refund the pilgrims affected.

Sources: News Agencies.


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