By Salisu Sani-Idris
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it has commenced preparations for the 2023 Hajj, toward a successful Holy Pilgrimage.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, said this at the Independent Hajj Reporters’ 2022 Hajj Lecture/Award held at National Mosque Auditorium on Thursday in Abuja.
Represented by Dr Ibrahim Sodangi, the Director of Administration and Human Resources, NAHCON, Hassan said that the preparations started at the end of the 2022 Hajj, even before departure from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He said that the commission held preparatory meeting with accommodation providers in order to secure befitting accommodation for the 2023 pilgrims.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2023 Hajj is expected to commence by June.
The NAHCON boss said that the commission plans to organise an international conference with resource persons from different parts of the world to further brainstorm towards successful Hajj.
According to him, the conference will avail the commission the opportunity to brainstorm and learn from Hajj veterans from across the world.
“There is no all-encompassing formula for successful hajj operation. This is reason why we all must put our heads together and proffer suggestions on how to move Hajj industry to greater heights.
“Saudi Arabia that plays hosts to global Hajj contingents is constantly striving to improve Hajj through innovations and reviews of policies that allow it to adjust to current realities.
“That is why the holy city is constantly hosting technological conference, scientific explorations, conference on Hajj, paper presentations on Hajj administration and performance,” he said.
Hassan, who commended the independent Hajj reporters for organising the 2022 Hajj Lecture/ Awards with the theme,” Heroes of 2022 Hajj, congratulated them for successfully hosting the event.
According to him, NAHCON encourages productive gatherings that will boast knowledge and enhance smooth Hajj operation in Nigeria.
Earlier, the National Coordinator, Independent Hajj Reporters, Mr Ibrahim Muhammed, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors to ensure that people with pre-requisite experience, capacity and integrity were appointed to head Hajj organisations.
According to him, Hajj operation is an international event attended by 165 countries and whatever image the country present is viewed with diplomatic lens.
He said that the essence of establishing States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and NAHCON was about the welfare of Nigerian pilgrims.
Muhammed, who assured that Hajj reporters would continue to be pilgrim-centric in their activities, expressed concern over the gradual shifting of centre of discussion from the very vital fulcrum of Hajj operation.
“We are here today to recognize those who surmounted the unprecedented challenges of 2022 Hajj and rendered excellent services to our dear pilgrims.
“This is not a celebration of Hajj services, rather, it is to show appreciation to those who excelled in spite of the daunting operational challenge witnessed in 2022 Hajj.
“Independent Hajj reporters selection criteria for this year’s awardees were not entirely based on the conduct of 2022 hajj alone, rather it included a timeline of how states Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards executives handled Hajj activities during COVID-19.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highpoint of the event was presentation of awards of Best in welfare of pilgrims to Nasarawa State.
The award of best in Hajj Camp to Bauchi state, excellent coordination goes to Ogun state and most disciplined state pilgrim board award goes to Niger State among others. (NAN)
Edited by Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Ali Baba-Inuwa