Nigeria will be a hajj reference point in the world in the next 10 years, chairman/chief executive of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Barrister Zikirullah Kunle Hassan, has said.
The chairman disclosed this on Wednesday while receiving a delegation of Independent Hajj Reporters, a faith-based non-profit organization, led by its national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed, in his office at Hajj House, Abuja.
Barrister Hassan acknowledged Independent Hajj Reporters’ support over the years towards ensuring a successful hajj. He, however, said hajj operation is a sensitive issue that requires vigilance in the nature of information that is disseminated to the public.
He said the commission’s goal “is to become a hajj e-machine, where with a touch of a bottom, you get things done easily.”
He said NAHCON has recorded successes in transforming hajj operations in Nigeria. “You can only appreciate that when you take a look at hajj operations before and after the birth of NAHCON,” he said.
The NAHCON chief said the commission has introduced Hajj Saving Scheme to provide opportunity for the masses across the country to save for hajj; while the planned hajj institute is meant to improve the capacity of all hajj stakeholders that include regulators. administrators, service providers, tour operators, among others.
Mr Muhammad, in his speech, said all stakeholders in the hajj industry must ensure that Nigerian pilgrims get commensurate value for their money during the holy pilgrimage.
He said Independent Hajj Reporters, which is a platform for all Muslim journalists willing to contribute their quota in the areas of pilgrims enlightenment, has a “bequeathed responsibility of performing oversight functions.”
He said Independent Hajj Reporters would continue to pursue its pilgrim-centric policy, even though “it is not always that Hajj stakeholders in Nigeria find our interventions palatable. This is only natural. The fundamental objective is to ensure the best value for the Nigerian pilgrim.”
Parts of the organisation’s noble objectives, the coordinator said, include “redefining the art of Hajj information dissemination; deconstructing Hajj policies with a view to offer realistic and constructive criticisms; and hold hajj stakeholders accountable to ensure that pilgrims get commensurate value for their money; and create a robust platform for healthy debate that will assist in ensuring a hitch-free hajj operation in Nigeria.”
Mr Muhammad said his organization will continue to draw the attention of all Hajj regulators, administrators, service providers, and all other relevant bodies to areas we feel require immediate interventions.