Abubakar Bello Kaoje

The preparations for Hajj 2020 is in earnest, earlier on in January, 2020, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has placed advertisements in our major National dailies, inviting the prospective Airlines and Cargo carriers, both locally and internationally for the participation in the airlift of Nigerian Pilgrims and the airfreight of pilgrims Excess Luggage.

Consequence upon the advertisements, many Airlines have submitted their application forms, expressing their interest to participate. This event is where the sealed application forms, earlier submitted to NAHCON by the bidders, were formally opened and each prospective Airline was called upon to confirm the authenticity of his application form with a view to opening it before everybody to ensure maximum transparency in the screening system.

The breakdown shows that seven Airlines applied for both the conventional pilgrims under the auspices  of the States Pilgrims Welfare Boards and the Tour Operators. The Airlines that bided for the job are the Max Air, Fly Nas, Medview, Azman, Arik, Sky Power, and Sky Prime Air Services.

Other category of Applicants that expressed interest for the bid to airfreight the pilgrims Excess Luggage, are the Cargo Zeal, Esteem Cargo and Tours, Sokodeke Global and Nigerian Aviation Handling.

The Excess Luggage carriers are specially to cater for the pilgrims who might have excess Load, outside their official bags of 32kg and 8kg for hand bag. instead of the pilgrims becoming stranded, a provision is made for them to Airfreight their luggage with a regulated and approved Cargo Carriers with a charging fee per kilogram. Pilgrims are strongly advised to patronize these approved Cargo Carriers so that in the event of default, they will resort to salvaging the situation and NAHCON can even intervene.

The highest quoted price from all the companies range from 1,850 US Dollars and the least is 1,200$, respectively but one good thing about the whole exercise is that, all the companies have expressed their willingness to help in making the Hajj affordable for Nigerians by at least bringing down their earlier quotations.

Earlier on, the Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria; Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, remarked that the contracting companies should work in tandem with the desire of the Commission to make the Hajj affordable to the Nigerians and to also reduce the number of days our pilgrims used to stay in Saudi Arabia during Hajj operations.

The NAHCON Chairman added that members of the committee, which are drawn from all major stakeholders, from the Aviation Industry, the Nahcon’s membership and the State Pilgrims Welfare Boards, are all veterans in the field and he was therefore optimistic that the Committee would do a thorough job to achieve the desired expectations of the fourth Board of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria and indeed the general Muslim Ummah. The Chairman thanked Mr. President for the confidence reposed in them to carry out this onerous assignment.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Senator representing the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Muhammed Hassan Nasifa, expressed the hope that the fourth Board of NAHCON, with their commitment and Zeal, would surely succeed and assured the support of the Senate in that regards.

Similarly, a House of Representative member, representing the Speaker of the House, charged the Screening Committee to put in their best and should shun personal interest. He advised that the Committee should consider the indigenous companies found eligible to partake in the Airlift exercise with a view to key in the cardinal objective of this present administration for promoting our indigenous Companies

The Commissioner in charge of Operations, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa and also who is the Chairman of the Screening Committee, pledged the committee’s commitment to meet the expectations of Nigerians and Solicited the support of the contracting companies to make the average Nigerian intending Pilgrims  happy for having value of their money.

Abubakar Bello Kaoje,

Writes from NAHCON Headquarters, Abuja.