Some of the awardees displaying their plaques
Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) has conferred the Legislator of the Year 2018 award on Hon. Nnenna Ukeje representing Bende Federal Constituency, Abia State, in the House of Representatives, for her contributions towards successful Hajj operations in the country. Ukeje, Chairperson, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was so honoured at the Hajj Excellence Award Ceremony/Lecture held on Thursday in Abuja.
In her acceptance speech she said: “A little Christian girl receiving this award highlights what happened 30 years ago. My father was a pilot and he used to travel to Jidda, and said read this book and understand Islam because that is the only way you can subdue hatred.
“I want to thank you very much for this opportunity and in doing so, I want to state that as you carry on the Hajj operation, it is our desire from the legislator that Hajj operations are all seamless.”
Other awardees were Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State as Hajj Governor of the Year 2018, while Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State was awarded for Effective Reform of State Pilgrims Board.
Deputy Senate Leader representing Kebbi South, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, was also awarded for Diligent Contribution to the Enactment of NAHCON Act 2006.
Senator Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo Central), Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and chairman of the ceremony, was awarded Hajj Senator of the Year 2018.
While lamenting negative reports which, according her, “has somersaulted many activities in Nigeria,” Senator Sunmonu advised journalists to tame the rising incidence of fake news on Hajj and Umrah operations in the country. She assured of the National Assembly’s support to the media in the discharge of their constitutional responsibility.
Other awardees include Adamawa, Katsina and the Public Relations Officer of Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board (KSMPWB) Mallam Yunusa Makarfi, as Best State in Pilgrims Accommodation in Makkah, Most Hardworking State and Best State PRO 2018 respectively.
Omosa, Mabushi and Habdat Travels and Tour were awarded Best Tour Operators 2018 from Abuja, Kano and Lagos zones respectively. Cargo Zeal was awarded Best Excess Cargo Courier 2018.
In his remarks, the chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Barr Abdullahi Mukhtar, represented by Director of Procurement, Habu Ningi, expressed appreciation over IHR’s consistent report of Hajj operations which according to him, has impacted on service delivery and has put all stakeholders on their toes.
Earlier in his welcome address, the National Coordinator, IHR, Ameer Ibrahim Mohammed, expressed determination to tackle the challenge of stereotype media induced reportage of Islamic related activities, especially on Hajj and Umrah exercise.
“Muslims are not having the right image all over the world and I think we have a big responsibility to show who the real Muslims are,” he said.
He said IHR would organise a two days’ workshop on negative effect of fake news on the psyche of pilgrims.
The coordinator said that the yearly award was to create a spirit of competitiveness in hajj service delivery by service providers and administrators for the benefit of pilgrims.
Ustaz Abubakar Sadiq delivered a lecture titled “Concept of Service Delivery in Hajj Administration”.
IHR is a civil society organisation that monitors and reports Hajj and Umrah activities in Nigeria.
The annual hajj excellence award is created to recognise and reward individuals and organisations who excelled in the course of Hajj exercise.