NAHCON, Royal Embassy of Saudi strengthen ties to smoothen Hajj operations


The Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi, paid a courtesy visit to the esteemed Saudi Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Faisal Ibrahim Al-Ghamidy. The visit, in a statement by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, NAHCON, Fatima Sanda Usara, aimed at strengthening ties and fostering collaboration between the two entities.

Having recently assumed the role as the head of NAHCON, Malam Arabi expressed gratitude to the Saudi Ambassador for the unwavering support that NAHCON has enjoyed under the diplomatic umbrella of the Saudi Embassy. This visit highlighted the longstanding cordial relationship between NAHCON and the Saudi Embassy, reflecting a history of mutual understanding and cooperation.
During the meeting held at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Abuja, both parties engaged in fruitful discussions, acknowledging the importance of their partnership in facilitating the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The NAHCON Chairman conveyed his appreciation for the continuous support provided by the Saudi Embassy, which has significantly contributed to the success of Hajj operations.

In a joint commitment to further enhance efficiency and collaboration, the guest and host agreed to streamline working relations. The aim is to simplify processes and expedite the flow of activities, ensuring a seamless experience for pilgrims and stakeholders altogether.

These collaborative efforts between NAHCON and the Saudi Embassy are anticipated to create a more conducive environment for effective communication and coordination, ultimately benefiting the thousands of pilgrims undertaking the sacred journey. The commitment to fast-track processes reflects the shared vision of both entities to ensure the welfare of pilgrims and strengthen the bonds between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, NAHCON has disclosed that it will soon conclude investigations into complaints received in response to its call for petitions against any of the Private Tour Operators approved to convey pilgrims for 2024 Hajj under the private sector.

It would be recalled that on December 13, 2023, the commission announced the temporary suspension of Hajj slot allocations to tour operators. The decision underscored NAHCON’s commitment to fairness and equity following grievances from certain quarters.

“Until the inquiry is concluded, NAHCON will withhold further actions, with updates to be communicated publicly once the process is finalized,” Sanda Usara said.

Initially, the suspension was to last for 48 hours when it was announced on December 13.

In view of the suspension, the NAHCON helmsman did announce to the PTOs that members with legitimate grievances pertaining to the qualification of any tour operator are encouraged to present well-documented facts and figures supporting their claims.

He had said: “NAHCON is dedicated to ensuring a fair and impartial investigation into these allegations.

“Upon receipt of the grievances, an extensive investigation will be carried out by an independent body. If the accusations are substantiated and found to be true, the necessary actions will be taken to rectify the situation.

“However, it has been emphasized that if the allegations are frivolous, NAHCON warns that there will be consequences for those found to be making baseless claims. This measure is essential to maintain the integrity of the selection process and to protect the reputation of both the NAHCON and the private tour operators involved.”

Arabi attributed the action to the need to sustain the integrity of NAHCON as regards facilitating a fair and transparent pilgrimage experience for all Nigerian Muslims.

The suspension is sequel to the announcement made on December 10, 2023 that Federal Government of Nigeria had obtained additional allocation of 30 slots for the Private Tour Operators (PTO) sector from the previous 10 slots allocated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah thereafter, parameters were set to choose the best on a scale of 40 highest scores from the list of 110 operators originally submitted by NAHCON for consideration. The list of successful PTOs was released by the Commission on December 10 with an assurance to oversee formation of amicable alliances with the remaining 70.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria is the governmental body responsible for coordinating the annual Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage for Nigerian Muslims.
Established to ensure a seamless and organized pilgrimage experience, Usara reiterated NAHCON’s commitment to upholding transparency, fairness, and accountability in its operations.

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