As the airlift of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2017 Hajj progresses, at least 6091 persons have so far arrived in the Kingdom in 14 flights, an official has said.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON’s head of media for the 2017 operations, Adamu Abdullahi, informed PREMIUM TIMES that the pilgrims were lodged in ‘4 and 5 Star Hotels in Markazziyya area of Madina’s Central Business district, a few metres from the Prophet’s Mosque.”
Mr. Abdullahi also said most of the pilgrims were in high spirits adding that most are first timers to the Holy Land.
He said officials from NAHCON and State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards have been educating and demonstrating to the pilgrims how to operate such facilities as elevators, washrooms and access to their rooms.
He added that the commission has also put in place “a functional medical centre and ambulance services on standby to meet up with any medical emergencies.”
Meanwhile, NAHCON has also constituted a 21-member feeding committee to monitor and oversee the feeding service arrangements during the Hajj.
The move according to the spokesperson of the commission, Uba Mana, is to ensure that food served pilgrims “are of highest quality and quantity.”
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at the commission’s Corporate headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chairman/CEO, Abdullahi Muhammed, also charged the members to undertake the assignment with an utmost sense of responsibility and without fear or favour.
The Chairman further admonished the members to view the appointment as both a divine and national call to serve the pilgrims as well as the Almighty Allah and therefore called on them to make sure that everything is done to ensure that the pilgrims get the best services.
Mr. Mohammed said the reforms put in place by Saudi Arabian authorities make it mandatory for identified caterers and feeding method to be provided as part of visa applications.
He said the new measure is aimed at preventing food related diseases and illegal food vending.
In his response, the committee chairman, Shehu Makarfi, assured that the members would not disappoint the commission nor compromise the confidence reposed in them.