FOR THE RECORD: Being Remarks Delivered by the National Coordinator of Independent Hajj Reporters, Ibrahim Muhammed, at the ‘Heroes of 2022 Hajj and Lecture,’ at the National Mosque Auditorium Abuja, on Thursday, 22 September 2022.
It is an honour for Independent Hajj Reporters to welcome you all to the 2022 HAJJ LECTURE/AWARD with the theme: ‘HEROES OF 2022 HAJJ.’
We are here today to recognize those who surmounted the unprecedented challenges of 2022 Hajj and rendered excellent services to our dear pilgrims. May Almighty Allah reward them all. Ameen.
The theme of this year’s event ‘HEROES OF 2022 HAJJ’ was born out of the need to reflect the mood of the Hajj operation. This is not a celebration of Hajj services, rather, it is to show appreciation to those who excelled despite the daunting operational challenges witnessed in 2022 Hajj.
As you are all aware, Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), is a registered Non- Governmental Organization, comprising Muslim journalists who report and enlighten Nigerian pilgrims on how to perform this pillar of Islam.
To achieve this, IHR has established Hajj Reporters Media Ltd, the publishers of Hajj Reporters.com, Hajj reporters Hausa.com, and Hajj Reporters Magazine.
Hajj Reporters is currently undergoing editorial redirection to focus more on the conducts of Hajj administrators, service providers and other relevant operational stakeholders as it relates to management of Hajj and Umrah. Welfare of our dear pilgrims shall be the focus and this, we hope to achieve in collaboration with other sister media houses in the country.
The Hajj operating system is undergoing rapid transformation under Saudi Arabia Vision 2030. The Ministry of Hajj is banking on the ICT propelled BUSINESS TO CLIENTS’ model to attract about 30 million pilgrims. Therefore, we must brace up and understand that hajj operations have gone beyond the thinking caps of analogue- minded administrators, we must engages those who has the capacity to implement the architecture of modern Hajj management.
Independent Hajj Reporters will continue to be pilgrim- centric in its activities. The essence of establishing states Muslim pilgrims’ Welfare Boards and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria is about the welfare of Nigerian pilgrims. We have noticed the gradual shifting of centre of discussion from these very vital fulcrum of hajj operations.
IHR’s selection criteria for this year’s awardees was not entirely based on the conduct of 2022 Hajj alone, rather it included a timeline of how States Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Boards Executives handled Hajj activities during the trying period of COVID- 19 pandemic.
We shall continue to work with stakeholders to develop and implement policies that will harness the economic fortunes in the Hajj and Umrah sector for the benefit of our dear pilgrims.
In view of the cognizance of the important of Hajj- the fifth pillar of Islam to over 100 million Nigeria Muslims, we appealed to Mr. President, State Governors to henceforth ensure that the right people with pre requisite experience, capacity, and integrity are appointed to Head Hajj bodies.
The conduct of Hajj operations has three important impacts on Nigeria and Nigerian Muslims. First, It’s religious obligations, secondly it has derivative economic impacts and most importantly, it is an international event being attended by 165 countries and whatever image we present is viewed with a diplomatic lens.
The Hajj and Umrah sector is not only about spiritual fulfillment, it is now worth $150 billion every year.
Hajj pilgrimage generates $8 billion and Umrah $4 billion and it is projected to be $150 billion by the year 2023? In the ten years between 2010 and 2019, the average number of pilgrims in attendance was 2.4 million. To harness this opportunity, stakeholders like NAHCON, States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and agencies and Hajj and Umrah Operators must work together and with each other by concentrate more on services to our dear pilgrims.
We appeal to other State Executives to support and motivates their respective states Muslim pilgrim welfare boards in carrying their primary obligation of ensuring welfare of Nigerian pilgrims.
Finally, it is our hope and prayers that State Executives, Hajj administrators and Regulators of Hajj and Umrah will conduct and administer Hajj activities with the fear of God and hope for a reward hereafter knowing that pilgrims are the Guests of Ar-Rahman on earth.
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria
Long Live NAHCON
Long Live States Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Boards
Long Live IHR
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