Hajj: NAHCON’s 43-man advance team departs for Saudi Arabia Sunday

To mark the start of the 2024 Hajj season, a 43-man advance team of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) will today (Sunday) depart Abuja for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The advance team, made up of 35 NAHCON officials and eight medical personnel, according to NAHCON Deputy Director, Information and Publications, Mousa Ubandawaki, was leaving for Saudi Arabia to finalise preparations to receive the first set of Nigerian pilgrims from Kebbi State who would be arriving the Kingdom on Wednesday, May 15 for the 2024 holy pilgrimage.

Addressing the team at a brief farewell ceremony held on Saturday in the boardroom of the Hajj House in Abuja, NAHCON Chairman/CEO, Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi, congratulated the members of the team on being chosen and urged them to live up to expectations by discharging their duties in accordance with their mandate.

According to the chairman, their actions would go a long way in the assessment of the Hajj body, asserting that their performance could make or mar the success of the exercise.

“You are the first point of call or contact with the pilgrims. Their impression and perception of your action or activities will go a long way towards assessing the Commission.

“If you get it right, we get it right and on the contrary, if you get it wrong, the rest will just be about crisis management.

“Therefore, you must be up and doing in order to earn our reward here and that of Allah in the Hereafter for treating His Guests well. They are the reason you are there, so at every point in time, make sure you attend or treat them with courtesy and respect,” the chairman told the team.

He, however, warned that NAHCON would take drastic step against anyone who may be reported to have deviated from the rules of engagement, stating that he would not hesitate to recall any staff accused of dereliction of duties.

While telling them that the bar has been raised and expectations is high, Arabi emphatically told them to take the admonition seriously.

“You have been carefully selected because of the trust we have in you and as such, you need to brace up. Laxity and procrastination will not be tolerated,” he warned.

Malam Arabi also called on the medical personnel to respect their patients and pilgrims, saying that was the essence they are going to the holy land.

In his words, “You must serve and treat them fairly, gently and with utmost respect.”

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The chairman then enjoined members of the team to work in unity and harmony, adding that they are representatives of both NAHCON and Nigeria and would be assessed and monitored.

“I want to urge you to work as team, cooperate with one another. Those of you who are veterans should assist and guide those who are new on the job so that we can achieve success collectively.”

Speaking earlier, the Commissioner in charge of Operations, Inspectorate and Licensing, Prince Anofiu Olarewaju Elegushi, called on the team to be NAHCON’s good ambassadors and assured them of the management’s support.

“I urge you to be patient with the pilgrims, minimize their complaints and focus on the task at hand,” Elegushi told the team.

He prayed for Allah’s guidance for the team in carrying out their assignment successfully and wished them a safe flight to Saudi Arabia

On his part ,the Commissioner in charge of Planning, Research, Statistics and Library Services (PRSILS), Professor Abubakar .A. Yagawal, expressed gratitude to Allah for witnessing the start of the 2024 Hajj Season.

He enjoined the team to represent the Commission well while in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, submitting that, “you are our eyes and ears of the management. Please represent us effectively before our coming.”

Responding on behalf of the team, Alhaji Ibrahim Mahmud, who is the Madina Coordinator, expressed appreciation to the management for the trust and confidence reposed in them and assured of their determination and readiness to make this year’s Hajj more successful that previous years.

“We will ensure that pilgrims get value for money and also do everything possible that pilgrims perform their Hajj rites without hitches in sha Allah,” he assured.

Ubandawaki informed that the team would organise and coordinate the reception, accommodation, feeding and transportation, health and general welfare of the pilgrims in the holy land throughout the Hajj period.


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