The Independent Hajj Reporters, a civil society organisation, has urged the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to modify the process of animal sacrifice to save pilgrims from fraudsters.
The first contingent of Nigerian pilgrims comprising 465 pilgrims from Kogi state were airlifted back to Abuja by Flynas airline on Saturday. Another 501 pilgrims from Kwara state were airlifted by the same airline on Saturday.
A statement released in Makkah, Saudi Arabia by the national coordinator of the civil society, Ibrahim Muhammed, expressed concerns over cases of non-compliance by some states pilgrims’ welfare boards – a development that led to some fraudulent middlemen defrauding pilgrims.
“We urge NAHCON to tighten its grip on the modalities adopted in carrying out the animal sacrifice (hadaya) on behalf of pilgrims,” the civil society said.
The commission had earlier appointed Jaiz Bank as the sole collector of hadaya fund – a move meant to streamline the process.
The civil society “urged NAHCON to ensure that appropriate sanctions are meted out to those who mindlessly swindled some pilgrims. Jaiz Bank in conjunction with NAHCON should embark on awareness campaign to enlighten pilgrims on the process of hadaya collection before the next year’s hajj.”
The statement also urged service providers, particularly the air carriers to replicate the successes recorded during the outbound journey as they begin the airlift of the pilgrims back home on Saturday.
The statement said having monitored hajj activities so far, “Independent Hajj Reporters commends the quality of service delivered to our dear pilgrims by various hajj service providers, especially during their stay in Mina.”
“The movement of pilgrims from Makkah to Mina and from Mina to Arafat and back to Makkah were completed in record time. The Taraddudiya committees of NAHCON and those of state pilgrims’ boards exhibited competency and dedication to duty,” the statement said.
“We equally commend NAHCON for providing world standard accommodation for Nigerian pilgrims in Madina. It has elevated the status of our pilgrims in the eyes of other hajj participating countries. States pilgrims’ welfare boards responsible for securing accommodations for pilgrims in Makkah should emulate NAHCON by next year. This is because pilgrims spend between six and seven days in Madina while they spend 24 – 26 days in Makkah,” the statement said.