National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has solicited the “understanding of those aggrieved due to the failure to be counted among this year’s successful Hajj applicants.”
It disclosed this, yesterday, in a statement released by Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara.
It also assured those “unable to proceed for the Hajj that their fare deposits are untouched and safe. Thus, the commission will order release of their money to them without delay, should they request a refund. If they decide otherwise, they should be rest assured that they will not be shortchanged in anyway.”
Following a promise by Saudi Arabia on additional Hajj slots, NAHCON’s Commissioner of Operations, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa, had led a delegation to actualise the offer.
The statement reads in part: “The visit became especially important to lessen Private Tour Operators’ genuine outcry over shortfall in number of clients they would be able to accommodate for the Hajj. It was also targeted at managing pressure of other Nigerians desperate to participate in the pilgrimage.
“Hence, NAHCON’s formidable team of representatives as well as the strong presentation made to the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah by our Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
“Unfortunately, the promise could no longer be fulfilled. Therefore, Nigeria’s Hajj industry is left with its initial allocation of 43,008.
“NAHCON beseeches them to accept it as the will of the Almighty and look forward to the next opportunity if God spares our lives. The commission has done its best but the Almighty has decided the rest.”
“Indeed, NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, and other management members did their possible best to make sure slots were distributed equitably.
“It was however clear, right from the start that not everyone who is qualified would make it to this year’s Hajj due to the relative low number of allocated slots.
“The commission is aware of agitation from all its public, to wit, the State Pilgrims Welfare Boards, subscribers through the Hajj Savings Scheme, Private Tour Operators, including its own staff as well.
The management is consoled because it did not ostracise any group in the distribution of available Hajj seats, but of course, not all would be successful, because the commission was working within the boundaries of what was available.
“Yet, management understands the frustration of many who were desperate to participate in this year’s pilgrimage after two years of blockade.
“As people of faith, we should remember that Hajj is a divine call that one would answer at the destined time, no matter one’s wealth, health status, age or free time.”