CSO urges NAHCON to announce date of commencement of 2024 hajj airlift

by admin

For Immediate Release

With less than 10 days to the commencement of airlift of Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia by all hajj participating countries, Independent Hajj Reporters, a faith based civil society organization that monitors and reports hajj activities have called on the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to announce the date of the commencement of transporting Nigerian intending pilgrims from Nigeria to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

IHR said almost all major Hajj participating countries have announced the date of their inaugural flights to ferry their pilgrims. The CSO said it has always been a tradition in the country for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), to announce the date, venue and which states’ pilgrims will be transported during the county’s inaugural flight to Saudi Arabia. 

“We are sad to note that with just a few days left until the closure of the e track portal for visa issuance, NAHCON is yet to announce when and where the inaugural flight will take place, ” IHR said in a statement Sunday, signed by its national coordinator Ibrahim Mohammed.

The CSO said the top 5 hajj countries have so far announced when they will begin transporting their pilgrims. “Indonesia’s Director General of Hajj and Umrah Organizations, Hilman Latief in a statement recently, said the first batch of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims will depart for the Amir Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz International Airport (AMAA) in Medina on May 12–23, 2024,”

“The second batch will depart for the King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAAIA) in Jeddah from May 24 to June 10. Also, Bangladesh and Pakistan announced 9TH May as date of commencement of airlift while Malaysia will start airlift on May 11, even the Ghana Hajj board has publicly announced 18th of May as the date to kick start airlifting of its pilgrims”.

IHR said it is beginning to get apprehensive over the deliberate withholding of vital information from pilgrims – whose interests the commission and States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards are to serve all the time. NAHCON as the apex hajj regulatory body is responsible for selecting and coordinating airlifts of Nigeria pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and back.

“Nigerian registered pilgrims comprise civil servants, farmers, businessmen and women and entrepreneurs. Each pilgrim is expected to spend a minimum of 28 to 30 days in Saudi Arabia and as such they need timely information on their departure dates to make adequate provision for their families and dependants.

“While we acknowledge the ‘shortage of time’ inherited by this board due to the ‘unnecessary wastage of precious time” by the former board of the commission before announcing the commencement of 2024 hajj registration, we believe that announcing the date of the commencement of airlift will allow intending pilgrims to plan properly and not to be caught unawares within few days in a rush hour mode,” IHR said.

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