By Brendan Umoren
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it is set to transport all Nigerian pilgrims back home, beginning from Aug. 17.
The Commissioner in charge of operations, Alhaji Saleh Modibbo, gave assurance during the Post-Arafat meeting attended by stakeholders in hajj operations on Friday in Makkah.
According to him, the first return flight is scheduled for Aug.17 with MaxAir and Flynas airlines.
He said committees have been set up to ensure smooth return flights back home.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. Muhammed Bukachuwa, commended NAHCON for the excellent arrangement for the accommodation and feeding of pilgrims in the holy land.
He expressed the commitment of the Senate toward making laws that would improve hajj operations.
Acquainting the meeting with the activities of the medical personnel during this year hajj, the Chairman, medical team, Dr Ibrahim Kana said the medical personnel worked hard to ensure the health of the pilgrims.
He, however, advocated the introduction of a consultation fee of one Saudi riyal to discourage pilgrims from trooping to the clinic just for the sake of collecting drugs.
Kana described the attitude of such pilgrims as one of the challenges confronting the committee in its assignment.
He urged the pilgrims with such behaviour to desist, stressing that drugs could also be poisonous.
Contributing, Alhaji Muhammad Kudu, a stakeholder on hajj, expressed disappointment over the untidy and crowded nature of Nigerian pilgrims’ camp in Muna.
“A situation where we have between 25 and 30 pilgrims put under one tent is not the best.
“Some of our pilgrims left Muna with diseases they did not bargain for,’’ Kudu said.
Responding, the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad, attributed the untidy nature of the Nigerian camp at Muna to overpopulation and lackadaisical attitude by some pilgrims toward the environment.
He called for more education of the pilgrims, on the need to keep their tents clean always.
According to him, Muna, which was initially meant for 950 people, has to accommodate two million pilgrims during Arafat day and other religious activities.
In his contribution, Alhaji Abdul Hakeem Kalejaiye, the Executive Secretary, Ogun Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, urged the pilgrims to allow the unity of purpose that characterised their Hajj in Saudi Arabia, to permeate their life.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, retired Justice Muhammadu Dodo and top officers of NAHCON, tour operators, and the clerics among others attended the meeting.