‘Early preparations will ensure hitch-free 2017 hajj operations’

Muslim pilgrims join one of the Hajj rituals on Mount Arafat near Mecca early on September 11, 2016 Close to 1.5 million Muslims from around the world prepared on September 10 night for the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage at a rocky hill known as Mount Arafat. The pilgrims will mark September 11 with day-long prayers and recitals of the Koran holy book at the spot in western Saudi Arabia where they believe their Prophet Mohammed gave his last hajj sermon. PHOTO: AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

Muslim pilgrims join one of the Hajj rituals on Mount Arafat near Mecca early on September 11, 2016 Close to 1.5 million Muslims from around the world prepared on September 10 night for the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage at a rocky hill known as Mount Arafat. The pilgrims will mark September 11 with day-long prayers and recitals of the Koran holy book at the spot in western Saudi Arabia where they believe their Prophet Mohammed gave his last hajj sermon. PHOTO: AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

The Media Awareness Initiative for Hajj (MAI-HAJJ), a non-governmental organisation, has urged the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to commence preparations for 2017 hajj operations now so as to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

In a statement signed by National Chairman, Garba Ubale Dambatta, and the Public Relations Officer, Kabiru Yusuf, the group said, early preparations was the key to the successes the Commission recorded during the just concluded 2016 Hajj operations, adding that doing so will make the journey comfortable for both pilgrims and the Hajj Managers .

Really, the 2016 Hajj operations had achieved tremendous successes compared to previous operations, especially in terms of accommodations, transportations, feeding, logistics, and flights schedule.

Therefore, MAI-HAJJ is of the view that consolidation on these successes should be the next agenda ahead for the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria NAHCON, and the entire stakeholders.

MAI-HAJJ is commending the commission for its foresight in securing befitting accommodations for pilgrims in Markaziyya area, one of the most expensive places in Madinah, due to its proximity to the holy Mosque.

“The biggest plus to the NAHCON this year was the airlifting of about 86.5 per cent of pilgrims straight to Madinah and less than 13 PER CENT via Jeddah Airport.” MAI-HAJJ added.

This record has today secured Nigeria a pride of place in the league of world-class countries that has set unbeatable record in hajj affairs such as Indonesia and Malaysia, because it has greatly eased the movement of Nigerian pilgrims in the city.

Other achievements recorded by the commission are completing the Airlifting of 62,000 Nigerians to Saudi Arabia five days to the deadline for the closure of both Jeddah and Madinah international airports, securing Zam-zam for each pilgrim.

This new policy of delivering Zam-Zam to the total number of pilgrims who performed 2016 hajj before the completion of the airlift which later distributed to all the 2016 pilgrims on their arrival in Nigeria was well received with joy by all the pilgrims.

Also, MAI-HAJJ commended the role played by some of the state Governors such as Adamawa, Kano, Katsina, Niger as well as FCT Welfare for an exemplary leadership they displayed during the 2016 Hajj operations and urged other states to emulate in future exercise.

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