By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has disclosed that Nigerian pilgrims will be fed with local meals and stay in five star hotel during holy pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
The Chairman of NAHCON, Zikrullah Hassan, made this disclosure while speaking during the flag-off of the inaugural flight of Nigerian pilgrims on Thursday, May 25, 2023.
Hassan, who said pilgrims would get the best of food during the exercise, said that the new arrangement would provide jobs for Nigerians during the period.
“The Commission, in collaboration with the Mutawwif’s Company for Pilgrims of Non-Arab African Countries popularly known as Muassasa, has put in place mechanisms for the comfort and safety of our pilgrims. We have agreed that this year, our pilgrims would be served indigenous meals.
“To this end, the Commission created job opportunities for our Nigerian caterers by insisting that Saudi based caterers work in partnership with them in preparing Nigerian local cuisines for our pilgrims,” he said.
Hassan , who said it was able to negotiate a reasonable price for hotel accommodation in Makkah, added “our pilgrims are lodged in 5-star hotels within the prestigious Markaziyya vicinity surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque.”
Despite the challenge caused by the closure of the Sudan airspace, he gave gratitude “to the Almighty for a smooth resolution of the quagmire.”
“We appreciate the federal government for waiving numerous aviation charges, the airlines for their sacrifices, the states’ pilgrims welfare boards and our pilgrims who all cooperated to arrive at an amiable solution to the seeming bottleneck,” he added.
NAHCON boss urged the pilgrims to be good representatives of Nigeria by abiding to the rules and regulations of Saudi Arabia.
“I want to restate and re-assure Nigerians that this year’s Hajj won’t be just about stories but stories of success. We have made and concluded arrangements to ensure that the accommodation, feeding and transportation facilities on ground are the best.
“We are all aware of th ecrisis in Sudan, we plead with our pilgrims as they will have to traverse through a route longer than usual. In the light of the above, the states are urged to properly enlighten their pilgrims,”Hassan said.
In his remark, President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, commended NAHCON for the successful preparations for Hajj 2023.
The President admonished Hajj officials not to relent but “maintain the momentum.”