Hajj 2024: AHUON seeks involvement in selection of companies to ferry private pilgrims

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Members of the Association for Hajj and Umrah Operators of Nigeria (AHUON) has called on the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to allow it to nominated the 10 companies that will ferry private pilgrims to Hajj 2024 as required Saudi Arabian authorities.

Members of the association made the appeal on Tuesday during a sensitisation seminar in Lagos state.

The seminar, which held at the Ikeja Airport Hotel, Lagos drew participants from the Lagos zone.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia had earlier informed NAHCON that only 10 companies will be registered to ferry private pilgrims from Nigeria out of the over 200 companies registered by the commission.

To this end, NAHCON had on Tuesday constituted an 11-member committee to screen and nominate companies that will be forwarded to Saudi Arabia.

Hajj Reporters gathered that other companies who meets the commission’s requirements and is licensed will then get their allocations under the 10 selected companies as a form of merger.

NAHCON had allocated 20,000 slots out of the countries 95,000 to private tour operators.

Almost all speakers at Tuesday’s event said the commission should allow them to select the 10 companies instead of the other way round.

The first to make the suggestion was the keynote speaker at the event, Ustaz Abubakar Siddeeq, the chairman of Comerel Travels who said “AHUON should be involved in the grouping of tour operators”.

Sheikh Siddeeq, who commended the leadership of NAHCON as regards preparations for Hajj 2024 admonished the commission to always consult with members of the Association for continued harmonious relationship.

Presenting a paper titled Hajj 2024:New Challenges, Boundless Opportunities, Ustaz Siddeeq said a recent meeting between representatives Tour Operators and the Saudi Arabia Authorities was an eye-opener which shows that they have a great role to play in ensuring the comfort of the pilgrims in the holy land, noting that investment in the business is key.

He said members of the association should not be afraid of coming together since there is a legal document that binds them together.

On his part, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the association, Alhaji Abdulfattah Abdul-Majeed toed the line of the Comerel Tours chairman and said AHOUN deserves to select the 10 companies to be registered.

He said although he acknowledges the powers of NAHCON to regulate Hajj and Umrah matters, he added that “the choice of 10 companies should be exclusive to AHUON.

“We are not challenging the authority of NAHCON but choosing the ten companies should be done at AHUON level”.

Alhaji Abdul-Majeed said if NAHCON insists on selecting the 10 companies “and issues come up later, who will be responsible?”.

He also said after selecting the 10 companies, those selected should design a structured leadership and assign responsibility so as to avoid any gap in terms of deliverables.

He also said all members of AHOUN must operate with the fear of God so as to enhance trust amongst themselves, which he said is not the case at the moment

He appealed to members of the association to be united and work as a team to achieve greater feat. Also speaking, a front-line member of the association, Alhaji Mariam Popoola admonished members to exhibit fairness and truthfulness in all their dealings.

She said members must collaborate because according to her and based on experience, Saudi will not change its position regarding allowing only 10 companies from Nigeria.

She also advised members of the association to always respect the leadership of the group.

She also said the leaders on their part must always communicate saying, “dissemination of information is too crucial to be ignored. Always communicate”.


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