Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj has confirmed 95,000 slots for Nigeria which was earlier conveyed to the country for 2023 Hajj.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Monday signed the much anticipated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), in which 95,000 slots for Nigeria was confirmed by Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj.
The Director-General in charge of Hajj Missions at the Saudi ministry, Bahauddeen bin Yusuf Alwani, had during a preparatory meeting for the 2023 Hajj via a video conference on Wednesday, 21 December, 2022, conveyed the approval of Nigeria’s pre-Covid 19 slots to NAHCON Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan.
Nigeria was granted 45,000 slots for the 2022 Hajj, the first to be thrown open to international pilgrims after Saudi Arabia closed its borders in 2020 and 2021 following the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
Monday’s signing of the MoU, held at the Super Dome Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, signals the commencement of operational activities for the 2023 Hajj.
NAHCON’s Assistant Director Information and Publications, Mousa Ubandawaki, informed that the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubair Dada, signed the document on behalf of Nigeria, in company with the commission’s CEO, Alhaji Hassan, the three executive commissioners, Alhaji Nura Hassan Yakassai; Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa and Sheikh Suleman Mommoh, board members and staff of the commission.
Ubandawaki further informed that, “One of the highlights of the document was the confirmation of 95,000 slots to Nigeria for this year’s Hajj with 75,000 allocated to the 36 state pilgrims welfare boards /agency/commissions, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and armed forces, while 20,000 is allocated to the private tour operators.”
He, therefore, urged the participating countries to work assiduously to achieve a hitch-free Hajj 2023.
Ubandawaki disclosed that the Nigerian delegation arrived Saudi Arabia on Saturday for the MoU signing.
Also on the delegation are Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa; Chairman, House of
Representatives Committee on Pilgrimage, Honourable Abubakar Hassan Nalaraba; stakeholders in the Nigerian Hajj industry, NAH- CON staff, among others.
While stating that NAHCON is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the 2023 Hajj operation is more successful, Ubandawaki informed that the delegation will attend an exhibition on Hajj and Umrah as well as a meeting with the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
The Nigerian delegation is also expected to meet with General Cars Syndicate, the United Agents Office and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) as well as verify accommodation providers’ offices and inspect caterers’ kitchens both in Makkah and Madinah, among other engagement before returning to the country.
Meanwhile, Ubandawaki stated that its attempt to en- sure complete success of the 2023 Hajj operation, NAHCON was carrying along all the stakeholders for synergy and effective service delivery.