Alhaji Zikrullah Olakunle Hassan – Chairman/CEO, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) leads delegate to meet Mr President
The Chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikirillahu Hassan has reiterated the commitment of the commission to reduce the cost of Hajj for this year.
Alhaji Hassan made the commitment while speaking with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa Abuja after he led members of the commission to meet with President Muhammadu BUHARI on Friday.
The NAHCON boss said he is determined to ensure the reduction of the cost of Hajj without reducing the quality of services enjoyed by Nigerian Pilgrims over the years.
He also expressed confidence that Hajj 2020 will Schild unfailingly despite the current COVID 19 pandemic.
See full details of his conversation with the journalists below:
We came to meet Mr President to show our appreciation for his kind approval of our appointment into the board of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON). We also came here to brief him about the plans and activities for this year’s Hajj.
In line with the President’s mission, we have succeeded in the pursuit of the reduction of certain items in the cost of Hajj without a reduction in the quality.
We have succeeded in reducing, for certain percentages, the cost of accommodation in Makkah and the ticket of airlines. We have effected some reductions. In line with all these, we are expecting to make some percentage reduction in the cost of Hajj fares this year as against last year. We are still working on all processes. We realize that in the determination to also increase some quality of services, the Saudi government has increased some of the cost. But we have succeeded in devising measures to mitigate against this increase as well as to make certain reduction in some of this cost. We are expecting some percentage decrease in the cost of Hajj this year from that of last year.
We also intimated the President about some of other plans which are still in process stage. At the appropriate time, we will certainly inform the press.
Q & A
What plans do you have to mitigate the effect COVID-19 Pandemic if it has not subsided before the Hajj exercise?
Won’t this reduction of money affect Nigerian pilgrims who may be accommodated in places far from Holy sites because of cheaper accommodation?
What measures have you put in place to save pilgrims from carrying prohibited items?
As to the first question on the issue of COVID-19, as people of faith, we are always optimistic but we are not reckless. I can assure you that we are in tandem with the Federal Ministry of Health to actualize the Federal Government position on the matter.
We have a member on the board who is with the Federal Ministry of Health. On a daily basis, we interface to know the exact position. I can assure you, we are not going against any of federal government’s directives to ensure that Nigerians, either within or outside the country, are healthy and safe. So, we won’t be reckless. By Allah’s will, this year’s Hajj will come to be.
As to the placement of Nigerians in places that are far away from the Holy sites, I can assure you that we are not going to do that. We won’t do that. We have no such plan.
On the contrary, if there are plans to go and sleep in their accommodation very close to the Holy sites, Haram as we call it, we will do that. But we are only conscious of the very fact that Nigerians who love going to pilgrimage are mostly the poor.
We will not reduce cost and suffer quality. I can assure you.
On the issue of prohibited items, as you know, those in charge are the security agencies who are in every part of the ports. But we have an Enlightenment Unit, both at headquarters here, in our zonal offices, as well as in all state pilgrims welfare boards. We have already designed syllabus with subjects that are supposed to be delivered to all the pilgrims.
We keep on intensifying this enlightenment to ensure that pilgrims realize those things that are prohibited. It’s not only just that. Somebody can even be given fake dollars. And he may not know that it is fake. We ask them to be very conscious even against where they see this money. When you take fake dollars to Saudi Arabia, you are going to jail. And we don’t want our pilgrims to go to jail