The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has declared that it would consider the health and safety of Nigerians before taking decision to participate in the annual pilgrimage, stressing that the safety of Nigerian pilgrims would not be compromised.
This declaration came as it is likely that the Saudi Arabia Kingdom officials may consider this year’s Hajj possible amidst coronavirus pandemic.
Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa, NAHCON’s Commissioner in charge of Operations, Licensing and Tour Operators made this disclosure on behalf of the commission while fielding questions from two international media organizations, France Radio and the Voice of America (VOA) in his office on Friday, 19th of June, 2020.
According to him, “While the commission is still awaiting the the official announcement of the Saudi Government on the 2020 Hajj, the commission would also take into consideration the health and safety of Nigerians in deciding its participation in the annual pilgrimage”.
He stressed that the lives and safety of the pilgrims are more important and paramount than any other consideration.
“Whatever the final decision of Saudi Arabia on Hajj 2020 may be, we on our part will make sure that the wellbeing and safety of our country’s contingent is paramount and secured,” he noted.
When asked about the commission’s position on the Hajj 2020, especially against the background of limited time to the commencement of Hajj, the Commissioner said that the Commission is currently consulting with relevant stakeholders in the country to come up with advisory paper to guide the federal government in taking final decisions.
In his words: “We have just concluded the first phase of our consultation and interface with the National Assembly’s committees and leadership. We will start the next phase this week with meetings with the licensed tour operators and chief executives of State Pilgrims Welfare Boards and after which we will collate our findings and send same to the Federal Government as an advisory to guide them in their final decision making.
“I can assure you that whatever decision that will be made will be in the best overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. We are not unmindful of the challenges and time constraints, but we will ensure that whatever advice we give to the government is the best,” he clarified.
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