Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Barrister Abdullahi Muhammad Mukhtar has said that the major problems encountered in the just concluded Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia are the aged and unaccompanied pilgrims from Nigeria.
“Basically, the main challenge we have has to do with medical fitness of some of the pilgrims; in some states, you see people who apparently are aged; and they don’t have accompanying relations to support them.”
Barrister Mukhtar, who presented the report of the 2018 hajj to President Muhammadu Buhari today, Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the Commission did not oppose to aged people performing hajj, but that they should be accompanied by able body relations.
“We are not saying no to the registration of aged people (for the hajj), but they should have an accompanying relations who should give them all the support they should require to perform the hajj in the best manner.
“To address this, we are going to strengthen our education and enlightenment programme and also the medical screening aspect of it will be strengthened.”
The Commission’s boss, who promised to consolidate the gains the Commission had recorded in the 2018 exercise, with the concert of the national medical team to make sure that this is achieved in subsequent hajj, said that he briefed President Buhari on the outcome of 2018 hajj and that the President was very happy with the outcome.
According to him, the President commended Nigerian pilgrims for behaving excellently during the hajj and directed that the Commission should do everything humanly possible to sustain the tempo and the successes recorded and to commence preparations for the 2019 hajj in earnest.
“I briefed Mr. President about the turn out of the pilgrims and we all appreciate the reasons and what ought to be done in future to make sure that Nigeria fills up its quota.
“Part of the measures to be taken will be the introduction of the Hajj Saving Scheme (HSS) programme which will enable pilgrims who want to pay over a long period of time to start paying by installments. All regulatory framework to ensure the success of the Hajj Saving Scheme will be put in place and government will do the needful for the take off of the scheme in due course.”