How Lagos consolidates gains of effective hajj management, by commissioner

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Hon. Dr. Abdul-Lateef Abdul-Hakeem

The Amir Hajj for Lagos State pilgrims and Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. AbdulHakeem AbdulLateef, unveils the strategic plans to make 2017 hajj exercise a success.

The commissioner said the state was awarded the most outstanding state in 2016 by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), due to its exceptional performance in the last exercise.

He said: “Last year, after the hajj we had a programme tagged “As You See It” where pilgrims are expected to give us the feedback. This gave us insights into some of our inadequacies that we improve on. For examples pilgrims believe that the case of missing luggages from Medina on account of the busses could be avoided. Some luggage put in the carrier fell off without the knowledge of neither the bus conductor nor the driver. This year we are settling for new busses without carrier, where the luggages can be kept underneath the bus”.

“Another case is when pilgrims return from Makah to Medina they proceeded immediately to Aram to go and perform their Umrah where they are expected to leave all their luggages at the reception. Upon their return from Aram you see so many of them declaring their luggage missing, this year we are going to ensure that as they arrive, they will first put their luggage in their respective rooms before they commence to Umrah, it is their duty to get their luggage off loaded from the bus and taken into their room”.

He assured that their would be a significant improvement in accommodation this year, saying: “We have improved our method of allocating rooms to pilgrims, the usual tension of where will I stay, has been settled. Pilgrims have been given the opportunity to select who they intend to live with right from Nigeria and their room numbers are been distributed to them right from Nigeria, so, no pilgrim will take off from Nigeria without knowing his or her room number in Saudi Arabia. This is the first time we are doing that to ensure the ease of performing hajj is enhanced. Once you know your room and the names of the people who occupy the room is on the door”.

AbdulHakeem said the number of medical doctors going with pilgrims to hajj this year is more than previous years. “We have always been going with a total of 20 Medical personnel’s, including nurses, doctors and pharmacist but this year we are going with 32 to ensure that pilgrims have adequate attention, likewise we had an orientation programme for all the medical personnel for them to know that Lagos State Government does not joke with health of the pilgrims”.

“Apart from that, we have also provided transport facilities because it is very expensive to get busses for the domestic movement of our pilgrims. we have also provide transportation from their accommodation to the Aram and we are going to aid the physically challenge because we are going with quite a number of them, there are vehicle to move them and we have provide care giver to assist them in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

He continued: “To make 2017 hitch free, we are ensuring that our reliance on Allah is not traded with the vanity of this world, we are going with highly spiritually gifted Islamic scholars that have the fear of Allah and who understand the reason why we are embarking on the spiritual journey. We are going with quiet number of them because we need to be adequately guided. Likewise, Pilgrims will have the opportunity to learn Arabic and the Quran pending the time spent in Saudi Arabia. We have assigned all the clerics that will be travelling with us the responsibility of teaching their pilgrims how to read the Quran while in hajj. We intend to organize a graduation party within the few days they are spending in Saudi Arabia.

“The pilgrims have been given the right orientation, the medical screening has been completed, they have been personated against yellow fever, Meningitis and properly briefed on the need for them to go along with their drugs and medications with prescription from their medical doctors. Apart from that, we are going with about 32 medical personnels to safeguard the health and safety of our pilgrims. We are going with enough professional staff to ensure pilgrims are well coordinated against stampede which nobody prayed for but due to usual congestion in Makah, the proper orientation have taken place.

“We are also ensuring that pilgrims are screen to avoid anybody staying back in Makah though we have never recorded such incident and we urge Lagosians to continue to be good ambassador of the State,” he said.

We will announce from time to time when the flight schedule are ready through radio, television and other various media to ensure all our pilgrims arrive on time. All we can say for now is that Lagos is set to maintain is clean record and continue to be good ambassadors of the state and of the nation in Saudi Arabia.

“We have trained our officers in respect of that and directional signs have been printed to direct people from Jamarat to Lagos State tent. Some of the officials of National Hajj Commission confessed last year that it was the directional signs made by Lagos State that was used by many Nigerians to get to their tents. So we are going to improve on this and we have escalated that to all the authorities and we want to ensure that the enlighten programme which we recently concluded will upscale even when we get to Saudi Arabia so that we will continue to enlighten people to know when to go out or not to go out to ensure their safety is uppermost in all our programmes,” he said.

On feeding, he said pilgrims have different disposition to feeding, but the state will try to satisfy everybody.

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