nigerian Pilgrims

NAHCON promises pilgrims improved service in 2023

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has assured Muslim pilgrims of improved service delivery in 2023 as part of efforts to tackle the challenges encountered during this year’s hajj.

The chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, gave this assurance, according to a statement on Monday, during a press briefing held in Lagos.

Hassan highlighted the achievements recorded by the commission during this year’s pilgrimage to include a reduction of hajj fare and a low mortality rate, despite its post-COVID-19 challenges.

He said, “Normally, preparation for hajj operations should take a minimum of six months, but we had less than one month to prepare for this year’s hajj, which came with many challenges, however the lack of a national carrier for transporting pilgrims to and from Saudi Arabia, is a major challenge the commission is grappling with, among others.

“This year, we were able to reduce the cost of accommodation in Makkah from $930 to $520 per pilgrim during this year’s hajj operation. We were also able to reduce the number of days pilgrims spent in Saudi Arabia and arrange the return journey of all pilgrims earlier than scheduled even though we had less than one month to prepare for the entire exercise.

“Preparation has already started on due diligence for the appointment of air carriers for the hajj 2023 operation to overcome some of the challenges faced this year. We met with all officials of hajj operators during hajj 2022 for discussion on areas of service delivery to pilgrims. We agreed to work collectively and to improve service delivery to pilgrims by setting standards for operation.”

The chairman also disclosed that the commission has planned to fine-tune the operations of the Hajj Saving Scheme in a bid to assist intending pilgrims and save enough money to fulfil their desire for the pilgrimage.

“Countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have operated similar schemes for many years so they can have enough funds in their kitty to quickly arrange for any emergent situation like hajj 2022,” he said.

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