The Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima has commended the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for a successful 2023 hajj operations in spite of many challenges faced by the Commission.
Sen. Shettima gave the commendation today when he received briefing from the management of NAHCON led by the chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the Vice President, “we have to offer praises to Allah for the successful conduct of 2023 hajj, in spite of harsh conditions faced by people in the Saudi Arabia occasioned by the climate change and other factors. The temperature rose to unimaginable level, though Nigeria was not the only country affected by the effect of the climate change.”
While commiserating with the families of the 29 pilgrims who died during the 2023 hajj, Vice President Shettima urged the Commission “to learn lessons from the last Hajj operations and gird our loins and make efforts to address all the short comings in the upcoming hajj operations.”
Speaking on the welfare of 95,000 pilgrims which performed hajj last year, Vice President Shettima remarked that the welfare of the pilgrims is at the core of the pilgrimage and as such the Commission must give it the priority it deserves.
He advised the management to make adequate preparations to take care of the pilgrims, noting that though it is a spiritual exercise, the Commission must not neglect the wellbeing of pilgrims throughout their stay in the holy land.
Emphasizing the need to develop a robust mechanism to curtail the challenges faced by the people, he stated that “it is absolutely essential that we review this mechanism and make it practical and effective to give us maximum success in managing the hajj operations from year to year.”
On the problem of the volatility of the exchange rate on the Commission’s finances which was caused by the unification of the different forex windows, the VP advised the management to be proactive as it prepares for the future, stating “you have to rigorously review your exchange rate and come up with a much more acceptable figure.”
He further advised them on the need to educate pilgrims on their rights in the holy land by making use of the social media platforms and other traditional media to enhance your visibility.
The Vice President also commended the Commission on the various initiatives to further enhance its activities especially the launching of Hajj Savings’ Scheme, the Hajj Institute of Nigeria and Public Private Partnership Arrangements for Kano, Lagos, Maiduguri and Ilorin Projects.
Earlier during his briefing, Alhaji Hassan disclosed that last years’s hajj was successful largely due to the prompt airlift of pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the provisions of accommodation to pilgrims, feeding and efficient medical services at all phases of the hajj activities.
It would be recalled that recently President Bola Tinubu put the supervision of NAHCON under the Office of the Vice President.