Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), has observed with dismay the lack of spaces for Nigerian pilgrims to this year’s Hajj in Mina camp leading to thousands being stranded.
Our initial findings show that the lack of space for the pilgrims was as a result of two major issues and lapses. Firstly, the Muassasa allocated the same number of tent to Nigerian pilgrims this year as they did last year. However, while the Nigerian contingent to Hajj 2022 was about 45,000, Saudi Authorities allocated 95,000 slots this year. It therefore, makes no sense that the same spaces are allocated for the two contingents.
Secondly, the Saudi based security personnel deployed to man the tents in the area allocated to Nigerian pilgrims opened the entrances much earlier than the arrival of real pilgrims and the fake ones, mostly made up of illegal immigrants from Nigeria, popularly called “, Tukari” took over the spaces.
We noticed that the fake pilgrims went as far as producing fake wrist bands and trackers to hoodwink the security personnel.
IHR therefore, in the interim suggest that all officials from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and the 36 states and FCT should vacate the tents they are presently occupying to allow stranded Nigerian pilgrims to stay there temporarily.
Priority should be given to only female officials.
Also, NAHCON and the states should immediately go into action by screening all pilgrims inside the tent in order to weed out all fake pilgrims.
IHR is also sad to note that there was very poor supply of food to the pilgrims on the first day of stay in Mina. Most of the caterers brought food very late. We call on NAHCON to blacklist these caterers against future Hajj operations.
16th June 2023
FOR: INDEPENDENT HAJJ REPORTERS