The Chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Abdullahi Mohammed, has briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the conduct of Hajj 2018 which was concluded recently.
Mr Mohammed, who spoke with State House correspondents after the briefing, said Mr Buhari “was very happy with the outcome of the Hajj”.
He said the president commended Nigerian pilgrims for “behaving excellently during the Hajj and he urged and directed that the commission should do everything humanly possible to sustain the tempo and the successes recorded and also commence preparations for the 2019 Hajj in earnest”.
Nigeria filled just about 60 per cent of the 95,000 seats allocated to the country.
The NAHCON chairman said his discussion with the president “appreciated the reasons and what ought to be done in future to make sure that Nigeria fills up its quota”.
He said part of the measures to be taken will be the introduction of a Hajj Saving Scheme programme which will enable pilgrims who want to pay over a long period of time to start paying in installments.
He said all regulatory framework to ensure the success of the Hajj Saving Scheme will be put in place adding “government will do the needful for the take off of the scheme in due course.”
On challenges faced during Hajj 2018, Mr Mohamed said the main challenge was the medical fitness of some of the pilgrims.
“In some states, you see people who apparently, are aged; and they don’t have accompanying relations to support them but were registered..
“We are not saying no to the registration of aged people but they should have an accompanying relation who should give them all the support they should require to perform the hajj in the best manner,” he said.
To address the challenge, Mr Mohammed said the commission is going to strengthen its education and enlightenment programme as well as the medical screening.
“We will consolidate the gains we have recorded with the concept of the national medical team to make sure that this is achieved in subsequent Hajj,” he said.