Stakeholders Urge FG Not To Hands Off Hajj Operations

Nigerians returning from Hajj Photo: premium Times

By Ige Olugbenga with agency report

Hajj and Umrah stakeholders have appealed to the federal government not to completely remove its hands from the management of Hajj and Umrah operations in the country.

The appeal was made in a communiqué issued on Sunday in Abuja, at the end of a two-day National Hajj and Umrah Stakeholders Conference organised by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).

Reading through the communiqué, secretary to the commission, Dr Bello Tambuwal, said stakeholders insist the commission should remain under the Presidency and reject calls for its return to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tambuwal said participants at the conference commended the federal government for granting NAHCON the approval to acquire the Metro Plaza, Abuja, as its headquarters.

He said stakeholders advised the federal government to dialogue with the Saudi government over the policy of allocating 50 percent of Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi-designated air carriers.

According to him, the conference observes that the exchange rate o the dollar was responsible for the high cost of 2017 hajj fares.

Tambuwal said the seminar recalled that the 2016 hajj financial transactions were based on the official dollar exchange rate of N197 to a dollar but the 2017 hajj fare was based on N305 to a dollar.

Tambuwal also said that stakeholders at the conference stressed the need for adequate and coordinated data sharing among Nigerian stakeholders both at home and in Saudi Arabia.

“Similarly, the forum urged NAHCON to partner with Jaiz Bank to establish Hajj Saving Scheme without further delay with a view to boost revenue profile of the commission.

“ The commission should also pursue the establishment of an FM Hajj radio station to ensure proper control and dissemination of accurate enlightenment programmes for intending pilgrims.

“ The conference urges NAHCON to reactivate the Committee on Women Specail Needs in collaboration with the Muslim women organisations in the country.“

The conference was organised under the chairmanship of the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Sa’ad Abubakar.

It was supported by the pioneer Executive Chairman of NAHCON and now FCT Minister, Muhammed Bello, as well as other stakeholders in the Hajj and Umrah industry across the country.

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