While 2023 Hajj might have been described as a huge success by Saudi Arabian government, same cannot be said for many Nigerian pilgrims.

For some Nigerian pilgrims, they claimed that 2023 Hajj is the worst pilgrimage ever due to the challenges they were faced with courtesy of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), State and Tour Operators during their act of worship in Saudi Arabia.

The aggrieved Nigerian pilgrims had tabled their grievances to the Federal Government over the unfair treatment and poor services rendered to them by NAHCON, States and Hajj Tour Operators during their pilgrimage.

Reports have been going round about the different problems and inadequacies faced by the pilgrims from the beginning of the pilgrimage but NAHCON attempted to resolve some of the complaints by setting up a review panel.

One of the 2023 hajj pilgrims and popular broadcaster, Oriyomi Hamzat, went as far as stating his dissatisfaction against NAHCON on Facebook,  questioning the silence of the government on the poor services and challenges pilgrims faced at Saudi Arabia – and before leaving Nigeria.

Pilgrims Express Lack Of Confidence In NAHCON’S Committee

After NAHCON set up the committee, some pilgrims took to social media to express doubt.

Rather than await the outcome of the NAHCON’s review committee, they preferred that a committee is set up by the Federal Government to review Hajj operations.

According to them, thesame set of problems had persisted without being resolved by NAHCON.

One of them, Yunus MJ, said, “I pray that the president will constitute a very strong committee to investigate the whole Hajj process in Nigeria. Too much corruption is involved in the system. We can’t continue like this.”

Another pilgrim, Saheed Jimoh, said, “Even though there are lapses due to human error which is bound to happen, I personally commend NAHCON relentless effort to prevent Nigeria pilgrims from unnecessary hardship.

“However, I don’t know why many other countries have standby buses that conveyed their pilgrims day and night fro and to Kabbah free of charge while Nigerian pilgrims didn’t have that benefit despite that we are fifth with largest pilgrims in Hajj? May Allah rectify our affairs.”

Sani Bunza Muhammad added, “Why are you in haste for refund when your pilgrims are there (in Saudi Arabia) stranded with epileptic return process, please augment your returning plan so that more pilgrims could be airlifted back home.

“Only one flight daily for whole Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara is not a good idea, present a flight with multiple passenger carrying effect than the present 400 seater type. I don’t know why NAHCON is leaving this crucial part of the pilgrimage with the states PWAs when it fully knew that too much corruption is there.

“Yah Allah, touch the hearts of NAHCON board and management so that they can show mercy to our stranded pilgrims who answered the call from their God and paid respect to His prophet but denied the joy of returning early to their families by a privileged few.”

Aliyu Zaria said, “Last Hajj season you made similar complaints and compensation was paid for the services poorly/not rendered. But up till now you have not made a refund to HSS pilgrims (2022) as promised.”

While responding to Zaria, Zani Bunza said, “I don’t think this administration has plans to reshuffle the bad eggs therein.”

Doyin Lasisi expressed his dissatisfaction, saying, “A religious body exposing innocent people to hardships.

“Horrible accommodation. No food. No transportation. Only Nigeria pilgrims are trekking about.

“You are talking of compensation/ refund? Is that not medicine after death? Can we not just get it right in Nigeria?

If other sectors are nothing to write home about, a religious body should live by example and live up to expectation.

“The Saudi authority had to be contacted to take our people out of Horrible hotel a while ago. Why? Haba!

“Where is the place of God and the fear of Allah? God is watching and He will reward you all accordingly.”

NAHCON’S COMMITTEE

NAHCON, in a statement, said the eight-man Committee was set up to review the “poor services” rendered to Nigerian pilgrims at the Masha’ir during the 2023 hajj and come up with a recommendation and position paper.

iwitness.com.ng had reported that the committee was inaugurated by the Commissioner in charge of Policy Personnel, Management and Finance (PPMF), Alhaji Nura Hassan Yakasai, on behalf of the Chairman/CEO, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan.

The committee which is to be headed by the Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Abdullahi Rabiu Kotangora, consists of Alh Abdulkadir Oloyin, Assistant Director, in the Office of the Chairman, Mallam Ishaq Jae of the Saudi Liaison Office.

Other members are the Secretary of Adamawa, SPWB, Director, FCT Pilgrims welfare board as well as the Secretary of Lagos Pilgrims Welfare board, AHUON is to be represented by the Vice Presidents of Lagos and Kano Zones respectively.

The statement read, “The committee has the following Terms of Reference:

“To review the 2023 HAJJ Masha’ir services provided by Company of Muttawwifs for African Non -Arab countries.

“To establish the services provided as contained in the contract for all packages.

“To establish services not rendered.

“To establish services poorly rendered.

“To seek for compensation/ refund as the case may be

“To recommend mitigation strategies for future exercises.

“The Committee is to aggregate all the complaints from the NAHCON, States and Tour Operators during the Masha’ir for onward submission to the Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah for necessary action.”

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