The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has engaged the services of two more catering companies to provide meals for the increasing number of Nigerian pilgrims who arrived the city of Madinah for the 2019 hajj exercise.
With an estimated population of 32, 952 Nigerians already in the Holy city of Madinah, the commission said engaging more catering companies is parts of plans to ensure the pilgrims are adequately fed as at when due.
Head of NAHCON feeding committee in Madinah, Mrs Wafiyyah Saleh Mustapha told journalists that the feeding contract for Andalus Kitchen, the company hitherto providing meals for the Nigerian pilgrims in Madinah since the 10th of July expires on August 1 having fed the agreed number of 30, 000.
Mrs Wafiyyah named the new companies as Yasih Kitchen and Dahid Kitchen having certified their facilities and made sure they meet the required standard set by the commission for the feeding companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The two new companies will commence the feeding of Nigerian pilgrims in the 16 five star hotels in the Markaziyyah region of Madinah where all the Nigeria contingent are lodged for the first leg of the Hajj exercise.
She explained that “the first thing we did was to go round the kitchens to inspect the facilities put in place by our contractors that will provide food for our pilgrims. We saw their arrangement, the foods and the expiry dates, the utensils and other equipment as well delivery van to see if the number of vehicles will be able to meet the demand of our pilgrims.
“We accessed everything based on the guidelines given to them because we had a contract that they must provide certain things.”
The feeding committee head disclosed that the companies also engage the services of Nigerian caterers to enable them to provide Nigeria local delicacies as requested by the pilgrims.
“The initial challenges we face was that they were not used to the kind of food we eat so they brought in Nigerian cooks where they gave them contract jobs and they Nigerians are the ones cooking those special meals requested by Nigerians.”
“We can provide our people with Semo-Vita with Okro soup, Tuwon Chinkafa with vegetable, rice among others. The delivery has been consistent and we hardly find any shortage in the delivery”.
The NAHCON feeding committee is divided into groups to manage the collection and distribution of meal to pilgrims in the various hotels they are occupying.
Our correspondent observes that the function is also to ensure the food provided meet the agreed requirements in terms of quantity, quality and hygiene and after certification of everything as agreed, the parties sign the monitoring forms together with the states officials, the caterers and NAHCON officials.