The acting Chairman/CEO of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Mallam Jalal Ahmed Arabi has appealed to the Saudi Arabian service provider, the Mutawiff of African Non-Arab Countries , to significantly enhance services for Nigerian pilgrims in the Masha’ir. During a meeting at the Hajj House in Abuja with Dr. Ahmad Abbas Sindi, Chairman of the Establishment, Mallam Arabi stressed the importance of a collaborative effort to find solutions to the issues encountered during the 2023 Hajj.
The meeting which was attended by some secretaries of state pilgrims welfare boards , executives and members of the Association of Hajj and Umrah operators of Nigeria (AHUON), addressed concerns regarding services in Masha’ir during the 2023 Hajj and outlined plans for the 2024 Hajj, particularly in the areas of feeding, transportation, space allocation, security, and refunds, among other topics.
In a statement issued on Sunday, by the Commission’s Deputy Director, Information and Publication, Mousa Ubandawaki, the acting Chairman/ CEO, emphasised that the purpose of the interface was to pave the way for a new approach that would effectively address the problems faced during the 2023 Hajj. “As partners, we are here to discuss, collaborate, engage, and interact, with the aim of nurturing this partnership. The 2023 Hajj has gone, and the 2024 Hajj is approaching.
Therefore, it is essential to address all details and ensure a smoother experience than what was achieved in the past,” he stated. In response, the Chairman of Mutawif assured of a revamped Hajj experience for Nigerian pilgrims in the upcoming 2024 Hajj. He stated that efforts and commitments have been made to improve service delivery in Mina and Arafat, citing changes in manpower, systems, and control of the Arafat project.
He also highlighted plans to enhance toilet facilities and their distribution. In terms of catering, a new policy is to be implemented to ensure Nigerian pilgrims are served promptly and with a Nigerian menu. “We have engaged vendors to source produce from Nigeria and hired Nigerian cooks to ensure that meals served during the Masha’ir align with Nigerian tastes,” he added. “We are fully committed to implementing these improvements and ensuring efficient food delivery from the kitchen to the tents.
We promise a remarkable Hajj in 2024, Insha Allah.” Regarding transportation, he pointed out that arrangements have been made to increase the frequency of shuttle buses between Mina, Muzdalifa, Arafat, and Makkah to address previous transportation issues. The Chairman assured that the bus services would operate 24 hours to accommodate pilgrims. He further stated that despite the investments and financial commitments to modernize and improve services, pilgrims and Hajj missions will not bear additional financial burdens.
He stated, “While we have committed a significant investment to upgrade services, pilgrims can expect reduced or unchanged charges. Our aim is to ensure a memorable Hajj in 2024, Insha Allah.” In addressing refunds for services not rendered during the 2023 Hajj, Sindi promised that the necessary reimbursements would be made.