By Salisu Sani-Idris
Abuja – Independent Hajj Reporters, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has advised National Hajj Commission
of Nigeria (NAHCON) and state Muslim pilgrims’ welfare boards to review the process of appointing Hajj officials by making it contractual.
National Coordinator of the group, Malam Ibrahim Mohammed, gave the advice in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
He stated that the review would help to consolidate the gains recorded in Hajj operations in previous years.
He also said that the roles, responsibilities, conditions, rights and privileges of Hajj officials should be properly defined and legally
coded to avoid abdication of responsibilities by some state Hajj boards or NAHCON appointed hajj officials as witnessed in previous exercises.
Mohammed said Nigeria could not afford to drift backwards in Hajj operations, “having moved to top-five among Hajj management bodies in the world.
“The roles of ad hoc operational staff during Hajj are crucial to the welfare of our pilgrims.
“These responsibilities become more pronounced due to the fact that Hajj officials are sponsored by government with the sole aim of assisting,
guiding and providing help under the directives of Hajj administrators.
”Likewise, pilgrim’s enlightenment needs to be broadened to encompass the number of services pilgrims are entitled to, operational guidelines
of Hajj activities in Saudi Arabia and consequences of thuggish behaviour in the Holy Land.
The national coordinator said that the lack of proper awareness on categorisation of services and what pilgrims were actually entitled to could be
embarrassing to the nation.
He, however, thanked NAHCON’s efforts toward invoking appropriate penalties on Hajj service providers and it’s prompt correctional measures.
He said pilgrims wanted to be served satisfactorily, commensurate to what they paid for, saying “any appraisal after the Hajj
cannot replace what was being served during the holy trip.”