Chairman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan has declared that the commission will give a categorical statement at the end of Ramadan as to whether the 2020 hajj will be conducted.
The Chairman who spoke on a network programme of a Radio station, “HAJJ: A Spiritual Journey,” said that while it was impossible for the commission to make a definitive statement on whether or not the pilgrimage would take place this year, there is possibility that as soon as the coast is cleared from the Saudi end, the Commission will immediately announce its own decision.”
I can be able to give you a definite answer after the Ramadan, which is in two weeks time when the Saudi Arabia authorities would have agreed on whether it would hold and if it would hold. Of course talk is ongoing. The modalities and everything about 2020 Hajj.
I will tell Nigerians.” Alh Zikrullah, who expressed optimism that the opening of the two Holy mosques in Makkah and Madina could be a pointer to the hope that Hajj 2020 may take place, said that with the event of the last few days of the opening of the Holy mosques to worshippers, “it gives us a ray of hope and glad tidings that Hajj could take place this year.”
According to him, the commission is not in a position to declare whether the pilgrimage will hold. “We depend on other variables.
For instance even the Nigeria Airspace is closed for the next four weeks, which is also applicable in Saudi Arabia. Even if we want to fly now there’s no way we can do that unless the Airspace is opened.”
He however added that notwithstanding the decision of the Saudi authorities, the commission would not compromise the health and well-being of Nigerian pilgrims.”We will not endanger the life of any of our citizen. We will take whatever decision in good faith. We won’t be reckless about trying to perform the Hajj by all means possible.”
Answering a question by one of the callers on the program, Alh Zikrullah said that with coronavirus pandemic, the Commission has embarked on extensive collaborative effort with the Federal Ministry of Health on the sensitization of intending pilgrims to ensure they are acquainted with the basic rules of engagement like social distancing, use of face mask and personal hygiene so that they don’t contact the virus nor serve as a catalyst for its spread.
He outlined some of the efforts put in place in the area of sensitization of pilgrims through the mass media, including publication of leaflets and flyers and the directive to state pilgrims welfare boards and agencies to explore the radio and television as well as the new media to educate the intending pilgrims in their domain.