Hajj 2019: How NAHCON has fared – Vanguard

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By Mousa Ubandawaki With just less than 10 days from the commencement of this year’s Hajj exercise, it is imperative to examine the performance of the coordinating body – National  Hajj  Commission of  Nigeria (NAHCON) thus far in some of the critical aspect of Hajj operations. Members of Lagos State Hajj Adhoc Committee from left: Alhaji Hakeem Shittu, Alhaji Tajudeen Alabi, Alhaji Shakiru AbdulGafar, Alhaji Hakeem Bamgbola, Alhaji Bashir Adekoya and Alhaja Muyibat Rufai-Adeyemi during Ziyarah to Arafat in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, yesterday. Airlift Since the Commission kicked started this year’s flight with the successful conduct of the inaugural flight at Umar Musa Yar ‘Adua airport, Katsina  on July10, the commission has left  no  one in doubt that it was  prepared and committed to discharging one of its  onerous responsibilities  of having uninterrupted airlift of Nigerian pilgrims to  Saudi Arabia timely and promptly. In this connection, the approved carriers namely  Max Air,  Medview and Flynas have been the keys to the success of the operation. With the deployment of arrays of their wide-bodied aircraft to ferry pilgrims in their numbers to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was not surprising that with about 20 days to the closure of the Saudi airspace, the three “musketeers “ have jointly ferried over 10.000pilgrims to either Jeddah or Medina in such a little space of time. One can succinctly describe the performance and act of the airlines as “Bad  Boy, Gone  Good “. Accomodation If the reports and assessment of the pilgrims, state officials and the neutrals are anything to go by then the commission deserves or can be rated excellent in the area of housing provided to the pilgrims in  Medina especially, where the commission holds the ace. The serene and hospitable accommodation in notable and famous 5 -Star hotels in the sanctuary  City has been the best thing to have happened to the country’s contingents in recent decade which has drawn envy from the otherwise famous Hajj countries of the world. Here the pilgrims literally experience the world of glamour and opulence many had never come across in terms of modern facilities. Indeed, so far all  Nigerian pilgrims are being accommodated in 5-Star hotels in the exclusive  Markaziyah Area of Madinah. Feeding NAHCON has focused on delivery of standard feeding arrangement for the pilgrims. Despite the difficulty involved in the feeding of the multitude, the commission has done tremendously well in providing both continental and local dishes to the pilgrims with the staff of the commission monitoring and supervising feeding arrangement from the preparatory stage up to the final consumption. No wonder, many of the pilgrims were reluctant to leave  Madina due to the services being enjoyed. Staff /State Officials In fact, one of the outstanding success recorded so far in the life of Hajj 2019 is the commitment of the staff in the various aspect of the operations. The officials have been channelling their passion for the operation by ensuring that pilgrims get the right attention, information and services.  Aside  this  time,  the synergy and chemistry between NAHCON and state officials have been  great.  Unlike previously  when  pilgrims  are left to  their  perils and destiny  this  year all of the airlifted pilgrims are accompanied by  officials  right from the  first flight  to the last one. Though  there is still a lot of business  to be done  if  the  objective of Hajj Mabrur  is to be achieved, but thus  far, the commission can roll out the cymbals and like Agama  lizard nod it’s head in praise even if no one will do  so. This year’s Hajj, is all about the pilgrims and the nation, and not of placing emphasis on the welfare or well-being of VIPs and government officials alone, which it has been in the past. This is all due to the grounded team of NAHCON and state officials. *Ubandawaki is of the Information and  Publication  unit  of  NAHCON
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