The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) was established as a body charged with responsibility to “license, regulate, supervise and perform oversight functions over organizations, associations (corporate or non-corporate) or similar bodies engaged in-

(i)     Organizing and coordinating the movement of persons from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj or Umrah,..” among other functions as stated in its Establishment Act, 2006.

To deny any role in the performance of Hajj or Umrah is to deny two major reasons for the existence of NAHCON. It is on record that NAHCON had of late even established an Umrah Standing Committee saddled with the task of bettering Umrah operations in Nigeria: to protect the interest of Umrah pilgrims and the interest of Licensed Tour Operators as well both in Nigeria and in Saudi Arabia. This fact was publicized.

Ever since the stalemate in the aviation industry between Nigeria and some countries, NAHCON leadership had remained on its feet particularly on the matter relating to General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)’s restriction of flights from Nigeria into Saudi Arabia. The latter is a matter of utmost concern to NAHCON by virtue of its oversight role on Hajj and Umrah, yet NAHCON  appreciates federal government of Nigeria’s concerted efforts towards amicably resolving the impasse. It is the Commission’s believe that federal government, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that of Aviation, is not relenting its efforts towards resolving the matter. Thus far, some flight suspensions into certain countries have been resolved successfully. It is the Commission’s believe that government will soon resolve all other flight suspensions in similar manner.

Needless to say, the Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, had been troubled with the turn out of events pertaining to flight suspension from Nigeria into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the Saudi aviation industry. The Chairman had met with both the Legislative and Executive arms of government to find a solution to the fallout of the suspension. He had also held discussions with other sister agencies whose responsibility it is to shoulder the matter and the Chairman appreciates the level of commitment of all parties involved as they are also keenly working to end the impasse.

All NAHCON stakeholders are rest assured that the Commission will never abandon its responsibilities and particularly their welfare no matter how tough the situation might be. It would be recalled that the Commission graciously returned all caution deposits to its Licensed Tour Operators when the pandemic forced Saudi Arabia to cancel Hajj and Umrah in the 2020/2021. Similarly, the Commission had advised both public and private intending pilgrims appropriately then and will still do so now when measures put in place to end the suspension begets clear response. The NAHCON Chairman understands the dilemma of all parties involved in the travel interruption and has been working wordlessly but painstakingly to ensure that the matter is resolved cordially. NAHCON would always be working modestly for the wellbeing of all involved in the Hajj and Umrah operations in Nigeria, and its doors remain open for consultation at all times.

Fatima Sanda Usara,

Head/Public Affairs,