NAHCON to probe abandonment of pilgrims, as Hajj 2019 ends

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Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, Executive Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).

*Says Sokoto State, coordinator, Nura Malami, deserve award

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has disclosed its intention to consider the need to probe the cases of abandonment of pilgrims against some private Hajj operators in the country during this year’s Hajj season.

Making this disclosure in a statement sent to The DEFENDER, on Monday, was Head of NAHCON’s Public Affairs Unit, Hajia Fatimah Sanda Usara.

According to the statement, there will be no sympathy for failing operators who, despite rigorous effort by the Commission in ensuring hitch-free exercises on both sides boards and private handlers, still went ahead to subject pilgrims to untold hardships trying to worship their Lord.

The statement said: “The attention of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) was drawn to a protest in Aminu Kano Airport by intending pilgrims of some Private Tour Operators (PTO) who could not be airlifted to Saudi Arabia for 2019 Hajj.

“While the Commission empathizes with the affected pilgrims, NAHCON regrets the situation in which the innocent pilgrims found themselves.

“It should be noted that, two weeks before commencement of airlift by PTOs, NAHCON had sent a circular to all the PTOs requesting any of them having challenges to contact NAHCON immediately so that the issue can be addressed to forestall any drawbacks. However, even as at last minute of 2019 airlift, no complaint was received by the Commission in respect of the said circular.

“NAHCON therefore assures the affected pilgrims that full investigation will be carried out into the matter to establish reasons why they were not airlifted to the Holy Land and consequently seek for justice on their behalf.

“The pilgrims are urged to write formal complaints to the Commission stating the affected PTO they paid their fares to, the total amount paid, the category of package they paid for and the agreement they signed for. These pieces of information should be backed by necessary documents to enable the Commission investigate and establish the truth of the matter.

“It must be recalled that the Commission had earlier advertised names of licensed PTOs and had consistently warned pilgrims not to engage services of any unrecognized PTO in order not to fall victim of unprofessionalism.

“Meanwhile, the Commission solicits forbearance of the affected pilgrims who had high hopes of participating in the 2019 Hajj exercise.

“NAHCON had in the past carried out rescue operations for PTO pilgrims that would have faced the same fate yet, due to space of time left to the deadline, the Commission had the chance of deploying an aircraft to salvage the situation which is not the same this time, the unfortunate situation was brought to the Commission’s notice belatedly,” it said.

In the meantime, the Moshulu Hajj in charge of Sokoto State pilgrims in Saudi Arabia for this year’s exercise, Alhaji Nura Malami, has been commended for a good job done.

Malami was particularly lauded Monday night when the delegation of NAHCON paid a visit to Sokoto pilgrims in their camp at Munna, a strongly recommend centre in nearby Makkah, where every pilgrim is expected to pass nights from where he goes to Jamrat for stoning of Shaytan.

To the Commission, despite little challenges not far-fetched in management of huge population, Sokoto remained one of most energetically outstanding states during the month long spiritual exercise, held annually to help Islamic faithful fullfil one of five pillars of their religion of Islam.

The NAHCON delegation was received in the Sokoto Media Office tent at Munna by high powered members of the visited state, including a Commissioner in Alhaji Aliyu Baparabe, who, although a pilgrim, has joined from Madinah in ensuring success of Hajj operation by Sokoto State.

On another occasion, Governor of Sokoto State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, was also saluted by some pilgrims who spoke to The DEFENDER both at Makkah Munna.

They said the governor’s human concern, despite not at Hajj had been unmatched.

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