Articles - January 29, 2017


Compiled Ibrahim Muhammed
National Coordinator
Independent Hajj Reporters
Hajj in the olden days
Organized Hajj: The Pre-colonial Period
The history of organized pilgrimage caravans from Kano dates back to the early nineteenth century when caravans were regularly started from the city. According to the Kano Chronicle, the Isalmization of Hausaland began in the middle of the fourteenth century by Malian wangara traders. Although Hausaland was by this period already on the route of pilgrims from the Western part of the Sudan, nevertheless available historical accounts do not suggest an interest in the pilgrimage among the Hausa rulers and governing class in contrast to the Mais of Bornu.
The longstanding pilgrimage highway of Hausaland known as the Sudan route ran from the cities of Katsina and Kano through Aïr (Agades), the Fezzan and Aujila into Egypt or else across the Nile. The leader of a caravan was known as the madugu under whom intending pilgrims would congregate and travel, often on foot. In the pre-colonial period, there was little formal organization of travelling to hajj and the journey was usually undertaken at the discretion of private individual and groups. The organization was often informally assigned to the madugu who was usually an important personality such as a scholar, wealthy merchant or notable person who automatically assumed the status of the Amiral Hajj (Pilgrims’ Leader). At the beginning of this century groups of pilgrims from the south, especially Yorubaland where the Fulani jihad had established Islam in Ilorin and Oyo, traveled northwards to Kano or Bornu where they joined the caravan. An early English explorer, Barth, who came to Kano in 1857, estimated the city’s population at 30,000 but added that the figure doubled during the main caravan season.
The pilgrims usually visited the rulers in the capital cities of the lands through which they passed in order to solicit alms and “safe conduct”– usually escorts, in case of clear danger, or a standard letter of introduction giving the name of the recipient and the seal of the issuer. However, formal visits to the rulers were not always necessary. In some cases, well-to-do volunteers played host to the passing pilgrims and ulama (Islamic scholars) offered ‘du’a’ (prayers) for safety.
Organized Hajj: The Colonial Period
The British colonial occupation of what is today Nigeria lasted effectively for a century: from 1861 until 1960. The year 1906 marks the real beginning of British administration throughout Nigeria as the North was finally occupied in that year. The British, aware of the potentials of hajj in forging global solidarity among Muslims, wanted to curb the flow of pilgrims in order to protect their own interests in Nigeria. Rigid rules restricted the number of pilgrims while ‘good conduct’ was ensured through surveillance by escorts and at strategic posts along the pilgrimage land routes up to the Sudan. Colonial policy was to discourage contact among the various national segments of the Islamic community. Some of the measures introduced by the British colonial government were modern travel requirements such as passports, immigration control, health regulations and some payment of deposits for services in the holy land.
A positive aspect of these measures was the introduction of motorized trucks buses and, finally, aircraft. As the pilgrims’ transportation facilities were improving to the point where a quick trip was possible, the British came to regard the pilgrimage as less threatening. New travel formalities, combined with modern travel facilities, brought revolutionary changes in hajj organization in Nigeria. As early as 1920, His Majesty, the Emir of Katsina Alhaji Muhammadu Dikko pioneered the Hajj by sea when he traveled aboard a British steam boat from Lagos through London and Cairo. His Majesty was followed in 1927 by the famous Kano businessman Alhaji Alhassan Dantata who traveled by the same means through Morocco and Egypt in company of fifteen persons after obtaining passports from the colonial Resident in Kano. In 1931 the Waziri of Kano, Muhammadu Gidado Dan Malam Mustapha traveled on the hajj by road along with selected family members. Sixteen years after his first journey by sea, the Emir of Katsina traveled by road along with a renowned Kano merchant Alhaji Ibrahim Ringim, who bought a light truck for the Hajj journey. He took along with him his son Alhaji Uba Ringim (then about 15) and his teacher Malam Shehu Usman and joined the Emir’s entourage on a request by the Emir of Kano.
In 1937, the famous Emir of Kano, His Majesty Alhaji Abdullahi Bayero (Sarki Alhaji) traveled on the Hajj by road in the company of forty persons including family members. Two other Kano merchants, Alhaji Muhammadu Nagoda and Alhaji Haruna Kassim, who traveled in 1944 in a truck from Nagoda’s fleet, followed his route. Alhaji Haruna Kassim was to become modern Nigeria’s most prominent private pilgrimage travel agent.

Hajj in the olden days
Organized Hajj By Road
The first fully organized hajj journey by road undertaken by a group from Kano occurred in 1948 when three merchants, led by Alhaj Muhammadu Nagoda, provided lorries for the long trip to the Sudan (the terminus of the land route), charging each pilgrim 20 pounds. The pilgrims then crossed the Red Sea to Jeddah by ship from the port of Suakin near Port Sudan. The journey usually lasted six months. The year 1948 was a turning point in hajj by road. That year Alhaji Mahmud Dantata (1922-1983), jointly with Alhaji Haruna Kassim and Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gashash, established the West African Pilgrims Association (WAPA). Their aim was to facilitate pilgrimage travel by road and air. Buses and lorries were provided for the road journey that passed through Bornu to Chad and onto the Sudan Republic. Later, when air transport became more readily available, the WAPA established a new corporation, Hajj Air Limited, to handle hajj travel by air . It is not certain which of the two: the Pilgrims Aid Society (PAS) of Kano or the WAPA / Hajj Air Limited pioneered the mass pilgrims transportation by air from Kano, but it is certain that the PAS obtained the approval of the colonial Resident in Kano to airlift pilgrims from Kano in a West African Airways Corporation (WAAC) aircraft. The Director civil aviation in Lagos, gave the approval for the airlift.
Organized Hajj by Air
The prosperous modern business of hajj by air went on side by side with the hajj by road option through the 1950’s. However, hajj by road must have begun to decline by the end of the decade as air travel was becoming popular, safer, faster and cheaper. Perhaps hajj by air was given impetus partly by a recommendation of Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki who was stationed in Khartoum, Sudan (September, 1960-October, 1961) where he became aware of the considerable obstacles that intending Nigerian pilgrims encountered in the Sudan. Thus, during this period the overland route for the pilgrimage was discouraged in favor of the air route. Pilgrimage by air also received a boost in the late 1950’s as Northern Nigerian leaders began to visit London more frequently for constitutional talks. It became possible to stop in Saudi Arabia on the way home to Nigeria for the hajj or the umrah (a shorter, voluntary visit to Mekkah that can occur at any time of the year, also referred to as the lesser hajj).

Jamrat in the olden days
Direct Government Involvement in Hajj Affairs
During the budget session of the Federal House of Representatives in Lagos early in 1953, a member, Alhaji Abubakar Imam tabled a motion for the establishment of the ‘Nigeria Office’ in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to cater for Nigerian pilgrims. The motion was accepted with minor amendment and Imam was asked to submit a proposal on its actualization. As the motion was motivated out of concern rather than personal experience, Alhaji Imam decided to perform the hajj himself that same year in order to study the real problems and report back. He departed Kano on 27th July 1953 in a plane chartered by the Nigerian Pilgrims’ Aid Society Limited, which started operating in Kano in 1951. In September 1953, shortly after his return from the pilgrimage, Alhaji Imam recommended for the appointment of a pilgrims commissioner to accompany the pilgrims yearly; the establishment of a dispensary at the major pilgrims centres; the provision of accommodation for the pilgrims in Mecca and Medina; and the control of fees and charges that are indiscriminately imposed on the Nigerian pilgrims. He also recommended for the recognition and commendation of meritorious services rendered to the pilgrims by officials and volunteers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. All the recommendations were accepted in principle and for the purpose of implementation the Government appointed a three-man hajj delegation led by Alhaji Isa Kaita, a Northern Nigerian Regional minister. The delegation submitted a report on the pilgrimage to the Northern Regional and Federal Governments in 1954 when there were only about 300 to 400 official pilgrims from Nigeria each year. As he came face to face with the issues involved in the Hajj Operation, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sarduna of Sokoto and the Premier of Northern Regional Government, became very interested in the hajj. In 1955 the Sardauna led a four-man delegation to Saudi Arabia to personally investigate hajj conditions and to advise the Government.
The commission focused on several thorny operational problems such as the mutawwif (local guide) agency to be responsible for guiding Nigerian pilgrims in the holy land, the absence of accommodation for Nigerian pilgrims, the lack of medical facilities, and arrangements for reception at Jeddah’s sea and air ports. Meanwhile, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki was assigned to Kano as a pilgrims’ officer to assist Nigerian pilgrims at Kano airport on matters of hajj operations especially relating to passports, visas, customs and immigration formalities, health requirements and foreign exchange.
In 1958 the Federal Government of Nigeria became involved in the hajj operations. Its concern at this stage was the welfare of some 21,000 Nigerian pilgrims of uncertain diplomatic status in the Sudan as well as another 20,000 West Africans, mostly Nigerians, who were facing deportation from Saudi Arabia. Consequently, the federal government appointed a goodwill mission under the leadership of the Sardauna to find ways of solving the problems of the Nigerian pilgrims in both the Sudan and Saudi Arabia. In this manner, the pilgrimage began to take on the characteristics of a high-level diplomatic delegation.
Earlier in the year the Northern Regional government had formed a partnership with the Kano-based businessman Alhaji Haruna Kassim to handle pilgrimage traffic. The company, Alharamaini Limited, provided cheap and dependable service to both land and air pilgrims. Following the recommendations of the goodwill mission, the Nigerian pilgrims’ office in Jeddah was raised to a diplomatic status, a mutawwif fee was introduced and offices of Alharamaini Limited were established in the Sudan and Arabia. Alharamaini Ltd. was granted a license by the Northern Regional Travel Agency Licensing Board along with many rival agencies that sprang up in subsequent years, mostly in Kano. The agencies depended largely on chartered foreign airlines such as Sabena and British Caledonian. In 1965 the Ministry of Civil Aviation authorized Nigerian Airways to take over the airlift of pilgrims.
By 1960, the year of independence, the pilgrimage was not only a major event in the religious life of the Northern Region, especially Kano, a city that has been a pilgrim center for centuries. It was also becoming a major logistical exercise, with problems of fare structure, money handling, baggage allowances, foreign exchange and flight schedules. Statistics indicate that in 1956 only 2,483 Nigerians went on the pilgrimage. However, the numbers rose geometrically to 48,981 in 1973 and 106,000 in 1977. Refer to Table-1 for the official record of hajj pilgrims from 1979-1998. The practical arrangements became increasingly complex, but civil servants had acquired sufficient experience to handle them and to cope with new problems as they appeared.
The Northern Nigerian Regional Government set up its first Pilgrims Welfare Board in 1965, following the earlier example of the Western Region in 1958. The Board’s duties were to collect hajj fares, to arrange passports, to collect and issue tickets, to obtain visas, and to arrange for vaccination. When twelve states were created out of the four regions in 1967, most of them set up State Pilgrims Welfare Boards to carry out the same functions. For its part, the Federal Government created a section under the Ministry of External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs) known as the Nigerian Pilgrims Commission to serve as the link among the State Boards.
Concerned about the lack of preparation, both material and spiritual, of the average Nigerian pilgrim, the Northern Nigerian Regional Government set up a high commission in January, 1961 to report and advise on the religious aspect of the pilgrimage and on the problems of destitute Nigerians in the holy land. The commission investigated the conditions laid down in Islam concerning Muslims’ obligations on the holy pilgrimage to Makkah. It paid particular attention to conditions effecting important groups such as people without sufficient funds for the journey, the insane, the blind, the sick and disabled, the very old and the very young, pregnant women and unaccompanied women.
The committee noted that “… people in the above categories suffer great hardship on the journey to Makkah; some of them constitute a grave social problem there and do great damage to the prestige of Nigeria …, The Federal Government… intends to control the immigration of such people in the future.” It also became clear to the government that the enormous responsibilities involved in the transportation of thousands of pilgrims annually and the provision of welfare services could not remain entirely in the hands of private travel agencies. The problem was one of working out a form of diplomatic representation during the transition period to independence, of effecting the arrangement with the Alharamaini Company and of considering the whole issue of pilgrimage as government concerned. It should be noted that, by now, both governmental (public) and non-governmental (private) organizations actively participated in various aspects of the hajj. The public sector however bore the bulk of the responsibilities for policy formulations and for the administrative and technical support necessary for the annual hajj operations.
Private pilgrims travel agencies continued to grow in number until they became beset with many problems, including absurd competition, exorbitant commissions to subagents that lowered profits, delays in airlifts, baggage losses and a poor attitude toward pilgrims’ welfare. The private agencies that undertook most hajj arrangements on behalf of the intending pilgrims were also blamed for being unreliable and exploitative since their owners were primarily motivated by profit maximization. The public sector too was blamed for certain lapses regarding policy and technical support. Although governments at regional and federal levels realized the need for involvement in the important affairs of pilgrimage, no clear and comprehensive policy was formulated to guide hajj affairs. Kano State, the major pilgrims centre in Nigeria, nay in West Africa, made a modest attempt in 1968 to put in a controlled measure through an edict cited as the Travel Agencies (Control) Edict, 1968.
The Nigerian Pilgrims Board (NPB), 1975-1989
In order to correct this situation, the Federal Government of Nigeria issued Decree No. 16 of 1975 establishing the first Nigerian Pilgrims Board to coordinate and control the annual pilgrimage to the holy land at the national level. There were several reasons for setting up the board. The number of pilgrims continued to grow as hajj travel became easy, affordable, and popular. It became clear to the government that the enormous responsibilities involved in the transportation of thousands of pilgrims annually and the provision of welfare services in a foreign country could not be left in the hands of private travel agents. The rise in standards of living and travel both locally and internationally necessitated more extensive and efficient services for pilgrims. Nonetheless, the private agencies showed little concern for pilgrims’ comfort, welfare and moral guidance 33. Meanwhile, the government deepened its longstanding involvement in hajj operations through several important agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigerian Airways, the FAAN, the Customs Service, the Immigration Service, the Port Health Services, and the Central Bank. Consequently, there was a growing need to coordinate the activities of these various agencies with those of the Pilgrims Welfare Boards in the states. The hajj had developed to the point where it had acquired far-reaching implications not only for economic and welfare policies but also for national security and international relations.
The Nigerian Pilgrims Board that formally came into being in July 1975 was charged with many functions. It was responsible for coordinating the activities of the independent State Pilgrims Welfare Boards and for securing sufficient aircraft to transport pilgrims to and from Saudi Arabia. The NPB established and maintained pilgrims transit camps for accommodating and processing pilgrims. Medical personnel, welfare officers, pilgrims’ guides and porters were provided to cater to the needs of the pligrims. In addition, the federal Board had to arrange for the pilgrims’ travel documents and foreign exchange while trying to maintain accurate statistical data on the Nigerian pilgrimage. The NPB had the responsibility of distributing the hajj seats allocated by annual quotas that were approved by the President, see Table-3. It also set up the machinery for public education about the hajj including the dissemination of information to libraries and the mass media.
Although the board was authorized to supervise air transportation, it merely extended the monopoly over the supply of aircraft that Nigeria Airways had enjoyed since 1965. Naturally, setting up the NPB required the abolition of the private pilgrims’ agencies and their replacement with state boards. The NPB also opened regional offices in seven cities —Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Sokoto, Kaduna, and Ilorin. Recently, additional offices were opened in Abuja and Katsina. These regional offices serve the host states and their neighbors by providing pilgrims with transit camps and processing centers and by serving as points of departure and arrival. The regional centers are supposed to coordinate the extensive operations of the state boards. The state boards screen and register intending pilgrims, collect fares, prepare travel documents, obtain foreign exchange allowances, draw up flight schedules with the centrally designated airline, and care for pilgrims’ welfare from their departure until their return home.
If the private travel agencies deserve the credit for popularizing the hajj and contributing to the revival of the hajj tradition in Nigeria, the pilgrims welfare boards at the federal and state levels deserve the credit for standardizing and improving the hajj organization throughout the country. However, these institutional innovations have also created many new problems in their own right. In addition to suffering from the corruption and poor work ethic that plague the Nigerian public service in general, the NPB also struggled with a number of special difficulties. Because the board was under the purview of the Ministry of External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs), the board lacked the autonomy it required in order to discharge its responsibilities effectively. Moreover, the board’s functions overlap with those of Nigeria Airways, which continued to enjoy the monopoly over the airlift of pilgrims that it acquired in 1965–ten years before the NPB was established .
For many years, organizing the hajj flight schedule has been a serious operational problem that seems to reflect managerial rather than technical shortcomings. Officials of both the airlines and the pilgrims’ boards often appear incompetent in handling flight schedules and logistics. In general, hajj managers have inadequate incentives to develop a sense of administrative professionalism. They are discouraged by frequent interference from politically influential persons, by inadequate financing from the government budget, and by the ephemeral tenure of boards that are appointed and dissolved in quick succession as well as the unacceptable attitudes and behaviours of the pilgrims themselves.
The Nigerian Pilgrims Commission (NPC) 1989-1991
In a bid to distance itself from the mounting problems of pilgrimage affairs, the Federal Government of Nigeria promulgated Decree No. 6 of 1989 establishing the Nigerian Pilgrims Commission (NPC). The Decree repealed the Nigerian Pilgrims Board Act of 1975 and charged the new Commission with responsibilities for the general welfare of Muslims undertaking hajj or umrah. Setting up the Commission was a compromise between the two extremes of Government disengagement and direct control of hajj affairs. The decree clearly reflected the Government’s intention to make the Commission autonomous. The NPC was authorized to charter aircraft by appointing the airline of its choice, thus doing away with the Nigeria Airways’ monopoly. The Commission was also permitted to appoint its own staff.
The Directorate / Office Of Pilgrims Affairs (DPA / OPA), 1991-The Present
In 1991, the Directorate of Pilgrims Affairs (DPA) was set up under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in 1995 its functions were transferred to the Presidency under the ill-fated Task Force. Amid growing revelations of corrupt practices by its leaders, the Task Force was dissolved after Saudi Arabia imposed a total ban on Nigerian pilgrims in 1996 that included even Nigerians residing abroad. In 1997, a Sole Administrator was appointed to run the Office and it has remained under the Presidency throughout the military era.
NAHCON Establishment Acts 2006
1.    Repeal of Cap, 321, L.F.N. 1990.
1.    Establishment of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria.
1.    Composition of the Commission.
1.    Functions of the Commission.
1.    Tenure of office of members of the Commission.
1.    Cessation of membership.
1.    Establishment of Hajj Savings Scheme.
1.    Secretary of the Commission.
1.    Staff of the Commission and their remuneration.
1.    Service in the Commission.
2.    Funds of the Commission.
3.    Estimates of expenditure.
4.    Accounts and records.
5.    Audit of accounts.
6.    Bank accounts.
7.    Register of travel agencies.
8.    Penalty for contravening terms and conditions of licence.
9.    Obligation of Travel Agent where pilgrim is abandoned in Holy land or elsewhere.
10.  Delegation of functions.
11.  Report of pilgrimage by the Commission.
12.  Power to defer pilgrimages in certain cases.
13.  Set-off.
14.  Transitional provisions.
15.  Regulations.
16.  Interpretation.
17.  Citation.
Supplementary Provisions relating to the Commission 

An Act to repeal the Nigerian Pilgrims Commission Act Cap. 321, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 
1990 and establish the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to be charged with the responsibility of
licensing, regulating, performing over-sight, and undertaking supervisory functions over agencies
and other bodies; and for related matters.  
[12th October, 2006]
ENACTED by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
1.    Repeal of Cap. 321, L.F.N. 1990  
(1) The Nigerian Pilgrims Commission Act is repealed and the assets and liabilities
of the Commission established by the repealed Act are transferred to the Commission
established by this Act.
(2) The repeal of the Nigerian Pilgrims Commission Act shall not affect any rights or
liabilities subsisting in any contract or agreement in so far as any such right or liability
continued to subsist immediately before the commencement of this Act.
(3) Where, immediately before the coming into operation of this Act, there are any legal proceedings
or actions pending before any court of law brought Commission pursuant
to the provisions of the repealed Nigerian Pilgrims Commission Act, such legal proceedings
or actions shall continue to be dealt with and completed or otherwise determined in all respects as
if this Act had not been enacted.
1.    Establishment of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria  
(1) There is established a body to be known as National Hajj Commission of Nigeria
(NAHCON) (in this Act referred to as “the Commission”).
(2) The Commission shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and 
may sue and be sued in its name.
(3) Subject to and for the purpose of this Act, the Commission may enter into contracts and may acquire,
purchase, take, hold and enjoy movable and immovable property
of every description and may convey, assign, surrender, yield up, charge, mortgage,
demise, re-assign, transfer, or otherwise dispose of, or deal with, any movable or immovable property or any
interest therein vested in the Commission upon such terms as it deems fit.
1.    Composition of the Commission  
(1) The Commission shall consist of-
(a) a chairman, who shall be-
(i) the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Commission;
(ii) responsible to the Commission for the day to day management of the
affairs of the Commission;
(b) three full-time members and six part-time members representing each geo-
political zone provided that two of whom shall be women;
(c) a representative each of the Ministry of-
(i) Aviation;
(ii) Foreign Affairs;
(iii) Internal Affairs (Immigration);
(iv) Finance;
(v) Health;
(d) a representative of the-
(i) Central Bank of Nigeria;
(ii) Jama’atul Nasril Islam; and
(iii) Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
(2) The President shall, after due consultation, appoint persons of proven integrity as
Chairman and members of the Commission, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
(3) The Chairman and three members of the Commission shall serve on full-time basis.
The remaining six members, at least two of whom shall be women, shall serve on
part-time basis. The President, in the instrument of appointment of members of the
Commission, shall designate the members (other than
 ex officio members) that are to
serve on full-time basis and those that are to serve on part-time basis.
(4) The Chairman and members of the Commission shall be paid such remuneration
and allowances as the President may from time to time determine.
(5) The supplementary provisions contained in the Schedule to this Act shall be applied 
to the proceedings of the Commission and its organs.
[Schedule. ]
4. Functions of the Commission  
(1) The Commission shall-
(a) license, regulate, supervise and perform oversight functions over organisations,
associations (corporate or non-corporate) or similar bodies engaged in-
(i) organising and coordinating the movement of persons from Nigeria to
Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj or Umra; and
(ii) providing accommodation, transportation and other services related to
the performance of the Hajj and Umra to pilgrims in Saudi Arabia;
(b) liaise and co-ordinate with the appropriate government authorities or organs of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the rules
and regulations governing entry into and staying in Saudi Arabia for the pur-
poses of Hajj and Umra including all appropriate immigration, passport and
related consular services;
(c) co-ordinate the provision of health, financial, security, customs, immigration
and related services to persons proceeding to, or returning from, Saudi Arabia
to perform the Hajj or Umra;
(d) ensure the establishment and management of pilgrims camps and related facilities,
equipment and such other necessary materials;
(e) establish and maintain an adequate information system and libraries of books
and other relevant publications as well as cinematograph and other facilities
for use by persons interested in or desirous of undertaking a pilgrimage, so
however that the library shall be opened to the public upon and subject to any
conditions the Commission may deem fit;
(f) establish and maintain a biometric data bank of all Nigerian intending pilgrims
for the Hajj and Umra;
(g) conduct educative and enlightenment campaigns on Hajj and Umra, in all the
States of the Federation, and the Federal Capital Territory;
(h) appoint such number of medical practitioners and medical staff as it deems fit;
(i) issue guidelines and rules that will ensure that States Pilgrims Welfare Agencies provide
appropriate welfare services and guides for pilgrims;
(j) do such other things as are conducive or incidental to the discharge of the
foregoing functions, provided that this subsection shall not be interpreted to be
conferring any additional functions on the Commission; and
(k) regulate and control in and/or outside Nigeria all matters concerning the welfare
of Nigerian pilgrims and to formulate policies in connection therewith.
(2) The Commission shall establish such number of departments not exceeding five
for the day to day running and execution of the policies of the Commission in general
and, in particular, take charge of the following Departments-
(a) Policy, Personnel Management and Finance;
(b) Operations, Inspectorate, and Licensing of Pilgrim Agencies; and
(c) Planning, Research, Statistics, and Information including publicity, and library services.
(3) Each department mentioned in subsection (2) of this section shall be headed by a
full-time member of the Commission.
5. Tenure of Office of members of the Commission  
(1) The Chairman and members of the Commission shall hold Office for a term of
four years, renewable for a further and final term of four years.
(2) The Chairman or any member of the Commission may resign his appointment by
notice in writing under his hand, addressed to the President and the resignation shall take
effect upon acknowledgment by the President.
(3) The Chairman or any member of the Commission may be removed from Office
by the President, if the President is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Commission
or the public that the member should continue in Office.
(4) If the Chairman or any member of the Commission dies, resigns or otherwise
vacates his Office before the expiration of the term for which he was appointed, the President may
appoint another fit and proper person to complete the term.
1.    Cessation of membership  
The Chairman or any member of the Commission shall cease to hold Office if-
(a) he becomes of unsound mind;
(b) he becomes bankrupt or makes a compromise with his creditors;
(c) he is convicted of a felony or of any offence involving dishonesty; or
(d) he commits serious misconduct in relation to his duties.
1.    Establishment of Hajj Savings Scheme  
(1) The Commission shall establish, supervise and regulate a system of Hajj Savings
Schemes to be operated by the Pilgrims Welfare Board of each State and the Federal
Capital Territory (FCT) for interested intending pilgrims.
(2) The Commission shall set up a Board of Trustees for the Savings Schemes com-
prising of men of high integrity who are not members of the Commission and may, as
well, take such other measures as are desirable for the success of the Scheme.
1.    Secretary of the Commission  
(1) The Commission shall appoint a Secretary who shall-
(a) keep the records and conduct the correspondence of the Commission;
(b) serve as the Secretary at all meetings of the Commission;
(c) perform such other duties as the Commission or the Chairman may from time to time direct;
(2) The Secretary of the Commission shall-
(a) possess such requisite qualifications as may be determined by the Commission;
(b) be a person knowledgeable in Islamic Studies; and
(c) possess proficient knowledge and use of the Arabic language.
(3) Subject to the provisions of this section, the Secretary shall hold Office on such
terms as the Commission may determine.
1.    Staff of the Commission and their remuneration  
(1) The Commission may employ such other staff as it may consider necessary for
the efficient performance of its duties under this Act.
(2) The terms and conditions of service (including terms and conditions as to remuneration,
allowances, retiring benefits and discipline) of the Secretary and other staff of
the Commission may be determined, from time to time, by the Commission.
(3) The Commission shall determine the remuneration and tenure of Office of its
(4) The Commission may accept any member of staff by way of transfer, secondment
or deployment from any public service of the Federal, State or Local Government ap-
proved establishments.
10. Service in the Commission
(1) Service in the Commission shall be an approved service for the purpose of the
Pensions Reform Act.
[2004 No.2.]
(2) Nothing in this Act shall prevent the appointment of a person to any office on
terms which preclude the grant of pensions and gratuity.
(3) For the purpose of the application of the provisions of the Pensions Act, any
power exercisable thereunder by a Minister or other authority of the Federal Government
(not being power to make regulations under section 20 thereof) is hereby vested in and
shall be exercised by the Commission and not by any other person or authority.
11. Funds of the Commission
(1) The funds of the Commission shall consist of-
(a) all such sums as may be charged by the Commission as fees, commissions or
dues for its services;
(b) all revenue accruing to or vested in the Commission by way of grants-in-aid or
otherwise howsoever;
(c) any other money saved by the Commission; provided that, the Commission
shall not appropriate any monies belonging to the Hajj Saving Scheme, or borrowed pursuant
to the provisions of this Act or any other enactment; and
(d) bequests, gifts and donations.
12. Estimates of expenditure
In respect of the revenue of each financial year, the Commission shall, except in the
case of the first pilgrimage after commencement of this Act, prepare and submit to the
President not later than three months before every pilgrimage, an estimate of its expenditure
and income during the next succeeding financial year, provided that the Commission
shall submit an advance estimate whenever it is requested to do so by the President.
13. Accounts and records
Subject to the prescribed rules, the Commission shall keep proper accounts and re-
cords in relation to its fund in accordance with the Public Accounts Rules and Guidelines
issued by the Accountant-General of the Federation.
14. Audit of accounts
The Commission shall cause its accounts to be audited not late than six months after
the end of each financial year to which the accounts relate and the auditors shall be appointed
from a list of auditors approved by the Auditor-General of the Federation.
15. Bank accounts
The Commission shall open and operate bank accounts, take advances, borrow money
or undertake financial transactions only in accordance with existing financial control
16. Register of travel agencies
(1) After having satisfied all due process for registration, the Commission may recognise,
register and issue licence to a Travel Agency for the purposes of all travel arrangements
of pilgrims as may specified by the Commission.
(2) The Commission may require an applicant for a pilgrim travel agency licence to
provide such information or documentation as it may deem necessary for the purpose of
determining the application.
(3) The Commission may issue to the applicant a pilgrim travel agency licence upon
payment of prescribed fee and subject to such terms and conditions, as it deems fit or
may refuse to issue such licence without assigning any reason therefor.
(4) Every applicant shall lodge a security refundable deposit with the Commission, in
addition to any payment as a registration fee, an amount to be fixed from time to time by
the Commission as collateral.
(5) Any pilgrim travel agency that has been licensed to operate shall deposit a Performance
Bond from a reputable bank.
(6) If the application is refused, the amount deposited (but not the registration fee)
under subsection (4) of this section shall be returned to the applicant.
(7) The Secretary shall prepare, keep and maintain a register of every agency licensed
by the Commission under this Act, and the register shall be kept in such form as the Com-
mission may approve; and, when so prepared, the Secretary shall thereafter amend it from
time to time as circumstances may require, and save in respect of the first pilgrimage after
the commencement of this Act, not later than six months before the commencement of a
pilgrimage and the Secretary shall, as directed by the Commission, publish the names and
addresses of all agencies licensed for the purposes of the pilgrimage.
17. Penalty for contravening terms and conditions of licence
(1) Any pilgrim travel agent who contravenes any term or condition of his license
commits an offence and shall-
(a) in respect of a first offence, be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred
thousand naira; and
(b) in respect of the second offence be liable to a fine not exceeding one million
(2) The Commission shall revoke the licence of any pilgrim’s travel agent who has
been found guilty of any offence subsequent to subsection (1)
(3) The Commission may, upon any pilgrim travel agent being charged with an of-
fence under subsection (1) suspend his pilgrim travel agency licence pending the disposal
of the case.
18. Obligation of Travel Agent where pilgrim is abandoned in Holy land or elsewhere
(1) Every pilgrim travel agency or his agent resident in Nigeria shall be responsible
for the due diligent performance of the following obligations in respect of every aircraft
chartered or arranged for by him for the conveyance of pilgrims to or from the Holy land.
(2) Where any pilgrim is abandoned by the Travel Agents in the Holy land or else-
where for a period longer than forty-eight hours from the hour and date when confirmed
seat on such aircraft was to have been available, the Travel Agency shall pay to the
Commission or its agent in the Holy land or elsewhere such sum as the Commission may
from time to time determine to be sufficient as subsistence allowances of each such pilgrim
until such a pilgrim has been conveyed back to Nigeria.
19. Delegation of functions
(1) The Commission may, in respect of a pilgrimage, delegate any of its functions
under section 4 of this Act to the Authority charged with the responsibility for the general
care and welfare of pilgrims in any of the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital
Territory other than the function of licensing, and such other functions as the Commission
may from time to time determine.
(2) Where the Commission delegates its functions under subsection (1) of this section,
it shall be subject to any conditions which the Commission may reasonably impose,
and the agency shall be deemed to have applied for and been granted a licence under this
Act and the provisions as to registration shall have been complied with.
20. Report of pilgrimage by the Commission
(1) The Commission shall, not later than three months after Arafat Day, prepare and
submit to the President, under whose Office the Commission shall function, a report on
the pilgrimage for each year.
(2) The Commission shall at the end of each financial year prepare and submit to the
President and National Assembly-
(a) an annual report of all the activities of the Commission in the financial year;
(b) audit report on the financial activities of the Commission in the financial year
prepared pursuant to the provision of section 14 of this Act.
21. Power to defer pilgrimages in certain cases
Where the Commission is satisfied that a person has committed any offence or mis-
conduct specified by the Commission in the regulations made pursuant to section 24 of
this Act, the Commission may disqualify that person from undertaking any pilgrimage
organised or supervised by the Commission pursuant to this Act and the disqualification
shall have effect for such period as the Commission may specify.
22. Set-off
If a State at any time defaults in the payment to the Commission of any amount due
form the State to the Commission under this Act, the Commission shall notify the President
of the default, and thereafter the Federal Government may set off the amount in respect of
which default is made in or towards the payment of any sum due from the Federal Government
to such State, and the Federal Government shall pay any sum so set off to the Commission.
23. Transitional provisions
The Commission may, pending the licensing of travel agencies or pilgrims agencies
under section 4 (1) of this Act, continue with the existing arrangements for the provision
of accommodation and transportation services to pilgrims.
24. Regulations
(1) The Commission may make regulations generally for the purpose of carrying into
effect the provisions of this Act including-
(a) creating and assigning functions to the departments of the Commission;
(b) provisions on matters relating to recruitment, deployment, posting, training,
secondment, discipline and the general welfare of staff;
(c) specifying offences and type of misconduct, whether committed in Nigeria or
elsewhere, that would disqualify a person form undertaking any pilgrimage organised or
supervised by the Commission;
(d) providing for forms for use under this Act and for the particulars to be in-
cluded in applications to the Commission for licences (including notification
of any change) by agencies and evidence if required to be produced in support;
(e) providing for the fees to be paid to the Commission in respect of the issue or
renewal of licences;
(f) prescribing in respect of every pilgrims travel agency registered under this
(i) the suitable standard of performance which the Agency is obliged to
maintain in connection with the provision of services to pilgrims;
(ii) the form and nature of compensation to which any person is entitled
who is affected by the failure of the agency in meeting the prescribed
standard of performance;
(iii) the procedure by which complaints against an agency may be dealt
with effectively, justly and expeditiously; and
(iv) provision for any other matter or thing falling to be prescribed by the
Commission in respect of agencies.
(2) Any regulation prescribing compensation under subsection (l) (d) (iii) of this section shall
apply without prejudice to any other remedy that may be available in respect of
the act or omission which constitutes the failure described in that subsection.
(3) Regulations may also provide for the exclusion or removal as the case may be
from the register of names of agencies which fail to pay licence fees, or renewal of licence fees.
(4) Regulations when made shall be published in the Federal Gazette and in such
other manner as the Commission may direct.
25. Interpretation
In this Act-
“Agency” means a Pilgrims Welfare Board/Agency of any of the States in the Federation 
including a Pilgrims Agency licensed under this Act;
“Arafat Day” means the 9th day of the lunar calendar month of Dhul Hajj or such
day as may be designated as “Arafat day” by the appropriate authorities of the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia;
“chairman” or “member” means the persons so appointed by the President pursuant
to section 3 (2) of this Act;
“Commission” means the body established under section 2 of this Act;
“corporate” or “corporation” means any association of persons incorporated under
the Companies and Allied Matters Act or a body established by an Act of the National
Assembly or by Law of a House of Assembly of a State;
“functions” includes duties and powers;
“non-corporate” means any group or body of persons that is not incorporated;
“person” means, without derogating form the definition in the interpretation Act, any
natural person or group of persons corporate or non-corporate;
“President” means the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed
Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
“Secretary” means the Secretary of the Commission appointed under section 8 of
this Act;
“Minister” referred to under section 10(3) means the Federal Minister for the time
being in charge of Pensions matters;
“State” means any State Government, or organ of such a State Government of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria;
Any reference to the singular includes the plural and vice versa.
Any reference to a male person includes reference to a female person and vice versa.
26. Citation
This Act may be cited as the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Act,

[Section 3 (5).]
Supplementary Provisions relating to the Commission
Proceedings of the Commission
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Commission may make standing orders
regulating the proceedings of the Commission or of any committee thereof.
(2) The quorum at any meeting of the Commission shall be one thirds of the membership.
(3) The Chairman shall preside at all meetings at which he is present and in his absence
the members present may elect one of them in attendance to chair the meeting.
(4) Questions for determination shall be decided by the majority of the votes of members
present and voting and every member other than a co opted member shall have a deliberative
vote for the purpose and in the event that the votes are equal the Chairman shall have, in addition
to his deliberative vote, a casting vote.
(5) The Commission shall meet not less than twice in any year and subject to the provisions 
of any standing order of the Commission it shall meet at other times whenever it is
summoned by the Chairman, and if the Chairman is required to do so by notice in writing
given to him by no less than five other members, he shall summon a meeting of the Commission
to be held within fourteen days from date on which the notice is given.
(6) Where the Commission desires to obtain the advice of any person on a particular
matter, the Commission may co-opt that person as a member for such period as it thinks fit but
a person who is a member by virtue of this paragraph shall not be entitled to vote at any meet-
ing of the Commission and shall not count towards a quorum.
(7) The first meeting of the Commission shall, notwithstanding the provisions of this
paragraph, be summoned by the President who may give such directions as he thinks fit as to
the procedure to be followed at the meeting.
(8) The Commission may appoint one or more committees either standing or ad hoc to
carry out, on its behalf such functions as the Commission may determine.
(9) A committee appointed under this paragraph (8) shall consist of the number of persons to
be determined by the Commission and any committee so appointed may co-opt any
person whose advice is desired as a member but the co-opted member shall not be entitled to
vote at any meeting of the committee and shall not count towards a quorum.
(10) A decision of a committee of the Commission shall be subject to confirmation by
the Commission.
(11) The fixing of the seal of the Commission shall be authenticated by the signature of
the Chairman or of some other member authorised generally or specially by the Commission
to act for that purpose.
(12) Any document purporting to be a document duly executed under the seal of the
Commission shall be signed by the Chairman and the Secretary and shall be received in evi-
dence and shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to be so executed.
(13) The validity of any proceeding of the Commission or a committee thereof shall not
be adversely affected by any vacancy in the membership of the Commission or committee, or
by any defect in the appointment of a member of the Commission or of a person to serve on
the committee, or by reason that a person not entitled to do so took part in the proceedings.
(14) A member of the Commission who has a personal interest in any contract or
arrangement entered into or proposed to be considered by the Commission or a committee
thereof shall forthwith disclose his interest to the Commission and shall not vote on any question
relating to the contract or arrangement.
(15) A person shall not, by reason only of his membership of the Commission, be
treated as holding an office in the public service of the Federation or of a State.
(16) No member of the commission shall be personally liable for any act or default of
the Commission done or omitted to be done in good faith in the course of the operations of the

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