By Abubakar Bello Kaoje.
It became necessary for me to write and remind Hajj Stakeholders on the genesis, significance and the concept of the introduction of luggage Policy Management, which culminated into the present day allocation of different colour codes to different departure zones in the country for both the hand and the main pilgrims’ luggage. Prior to 1999, there was nothing like designated pilgrims’ luggage. The pilgrims go to the market and purchase the luggage they like, regardless of size, colour, trolley, echolac, iron or wooden box or wrapped sack and overstretching the aircrafts, thereby compromising the safety. This created a serious nightmare to Hajj authorities at that time, particularly in sorting out pilgrims’ luggage scheduled to arrive at different departure centres.
The scenario created massive cases of luggage been misdirected. Many pilgrims lost their luggage. After every Hajj operation, a Committee must be set up to search for the misdirected pilgrims’ luggage in different departure centres. The Technical Committee on Hajj (TCH), led by Professor Abubakar Aliyu Gwandu, was forced to think tank on how best to get rid of this glitch, consequently, the luggage policy was introduced, chiefly to nip the challenge in the bud. The policy stipulates that there should be a standard luggage size for every pilgrims and officials and the colour code for every departure centre so that aircraft loaders could easily pin point and identify luggage by their colour, rather than taking the pains to go through the labels or tags which could be cumbersome and time wasting. In the same vein to lock the loophole as to make the Airlines not to have any reason for loosing the pilgrims’ luggage and to make the Airlines pay in the event of any loss of luggage. Alhamdullah, ever since the introduction of the policy, for decades, the case of massive mis sorting of pilgrims’ luggage became history.
Today, as a member of NAHCON’S Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, I have been monitoring the distribution of pilgrims’ 32 kg luggage, particularly that of Nahcon’s officials, which has completely deviated from the concept of Luggage Policy Management. Officials just collect luggage regardless to which departure centre they want their luggage to arrive. The implication is that, if one takes a colour that bears against his luggage’s arrival point, the tendency is that the luggage could be misdirected to a wrong zone. If for instance, you choose Flynas to evacuate your luggage to Abuja and the colour code of your bag is Sokoto which is orange and the Flynas is the one covering both Sokoto, Abuja and other zones, likely all the luggage of these zones could germ in Flynas warehouse in Makkah before the eventual evacuation, when it comes to loading the luggage to Jeddah airport, the loaders may not take the pains in reading at the luggage’s labels but could only look at the colour in sorting out the luggage and if one is not lucky one’s luggage could easily slip into its colour match zone regardless to its boldly written label.
I am therefore appealing for Aviation or luggage Committee, particularly the Aviation Division to guide our Store officer as well as our officials in choosing their luggage colour in order to maintain sanity and avoid the nightmare of looking for their luggage at different departure centres. Please for more information about the approved colour codes for different departure centres, see below.
1.Abuja (FCT)…. Green.
2.IBADAN…. Light Brown.
9.PORTHARCOURT….. Light Blue.
Mind you that colour codes are not based on States but zones. For example, all the States under Lagos departure centre including the Armed Forces, share the same colour code, likewise Sokoto, Yola, Maiduguri, Kano, kwara, p/Harcourt and so on, all the States under these zones share different colour codes of their zones. Do not jeopardize the journey of your luggage. A stitch in time saves nine. Let’s lead by example also.
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