Nigeria to enforce new policy on Saudi Arabia accommodation for pilgrims

February 21st, 2024 5:59 am

Nigeria to enforce new policy on Saudi Arabia accommodation for pilgrims

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, started enforcing a new rule on Thursday that will make it essential for Nigerian pilgrims in Madina to be transferred to Makkah after five days in the country’s second-holiest city.

According to a statement by Alhaji Mousa Ubandawaki, the Deputy Director of Information and Publications for NAHCON, the new regulation is necessary in light of complaints about the congestion of Nigerian pilgrims in the City of Madina.

According to the statement, the commission has “given 100% Nigerian pilgrims the opportunity to visit Madina in the first phase or before Arafat” for the first time in a very long time.

In order to succeed and prevent fines against Nigeria if there are too many pilgrims in Madina, NAHCON further noted that it was forced to implement the new policy following extensive deliberation with key stakeholders.

The statement continued, “It is a known fact that during their stay, Nigerian pilgrims reside in the exclusive Markaziyya area, a decision that has been universally praised and for which the commission never intended to compromise.”

On the other hand, NAHCON stated that “if the policy must be sustained, then the number of days our pilgrims must stay in Madina had to be reduced.”

The airlift of pilgrims to the holyland must be coordinated with the amount of bed space available if the commission is to achieve its goals of making the 2023 Hajj seamless and comfortable for our pilgrims. This is because it is well known that the Hajj is quickly changing due to new developments and realities.

The commission won’t be fined for airlifting in more pilgrims to Madina than the accommodations can accommodate, nor will it be required to transport the pilgrims to a location that falls far short of the present Markaziyya’s standards.

As difficult as this decision may seem, we believe it is one we must make in order to avoid falling foul of Saudi laws. At the same time, it was decided that it would be more practical for Nigerian pilgrims to stay in Madina for five days rather than postpone their departure due to a lack of accommodations in the Prophet’s city.

The successful execution of this policy depends on the understanding and cooperation of the pilgrims, Hajj officials, and other stakeholders.

“We shouldn’t give up the progress we’ve made so far. The commission has no alternative but to adopt this move in the general interest of the Nigerian pilgrims, while we reiterate our commitment to making sure that they receive the best quality service in terms of amenities and welfare,” NAHCON added.

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