By Ahmed Ubandoma
Abuja – The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has given licensed tour operators a deadline of Nov. 30, to submit their online application for 2020 Hajj or face disqualification.
NAHCON Head of Public Affairs, Mrs Fatima Usara, said this in a statement shortly after the commission’s preparatory meeting for 2020 Hajj in Abuja on Wednesday.
“Tour operators have up to Nov. 30 to submit online application for 2020 Hajj license to avoid disqualification,” she said.
She said that the action was aimed at addressing challenges faced by pilgrims under private tour operators during the 2019 Hajj operation.
“As for licensed tour operators, due to number of complaints from pilgrims on services rendered not being commensurate with packages paid for.
“Measures have been taken to ensure that the packages pilgrims pay for are what would be served to them and the commission will define types of packages available and the cost of each package will be publicised in the mass media,” she said.
Usara said State Pilgrims Welfare Boards (SPWBs)and tour operators must register particulars of all intending pilgrims on NAHCON e-portal.
She said the commission also resolved that SPWBs would be allowed to conduct Umrah operations to boost their revenue.
Usara said, however, that they must have dedicated and certified staff to run the service.
“They must also open separate accounts for Hajj and Umrah and NAHCON will monitor the accounts to ensure full compliance and proper utilisation of funds.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, NAHCON during the meeting resolved that funds for booking of lodging in Makkah and Madinah be deposited early and directly to property owners for better bargain.
“During Hajj operations, each state must deploy a minimum of one official to Madinah in advance before pilgrims’ arrival to ensure smoother coordination,” she said.