No fewer than 30,000 Nigerian pilgrims have been transported to Medina, Saudi Arabia in the first phase of the 2023 Hajj exercise.
Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria Chairman, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement was issued by Fatima Sanda-Usara, an Assistant Director, Public Affairs, of NAHCON.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that airlift of Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for 2023 Hajj entered its 12th day on Tuesday, representing first phase of the exercise.
Hassan noted that NAHCON had mapped out a 25-day airlift plan to be concluded before closure of Jeddah airport on June 22, 2023.
According to him, NAHCON’s airlift operations are consequently going as planned.
He reiterated that NAHCON was committed to providing the best services for its pilgrims at all times.
Hassan said: “To make certain that pilgrims get standard ministrations, a team of staff were dispatched to Saudi Arabia in advance.
“This is to ensure that accommodations and catering services arrangements are satisfactory before arrival of the country’s pilgrims.
“Before then, the Commission had screened and selected capable hands in catering services to feed Nigerian pilgrims while in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and secured sufficiently standard accommodations for them.
“In addition to these selections, the Commission put in place such mechanisms for checks and balances that would ensure service providers render the services they were paid for dully without shortchanging the Nigerian pilgrims.
“Among these mechanisms are clearly stated terms and conditions of engagements, signing of agreements to that respect and advance payment for the services.”
Hassan added that this was followed by constant monitoring and supervision by NAHCON staff as well as a complaint portal and open door to receive such complaints where any oversight might have occurred.
NAN reports that the complaint line is open round the clock in Hausa, Fulfulde, Yoruba and Igbo on 097000780.
Alternatively, one can visit NAHCON’s portal on: nahcon.gov.ng, then scroll through the resources for complaint management portal.
The NAHCON chair also enjoined any pilgrim with complaint over poor services rendered, whether in poor catering services, transportation, sanitation and other unsatisfactory service delivery, to lodge same through the given channels.
Hassan said the concerned pilgrim could also contact NAHCON’s Saudi Arabia coordinators.
According to him, NAHCON will not hesitate to take necessary action where there is an obvious infraction on welfare of its pilgrims.
“The Commission will ascertain such claims and stipulate the right penalties for the defaulters as agreed in the contract award terms,” he said.
Hassan, however, commended the pilgrims for their resilience and cooperation during airlift schedules without which the operation would not have been smooth.
He, similarly, commended the States Pilgrims Welfare Boards, Agencies and Commissions for their promptness in responding to departure arrangements, with minimal delays.
The Chairman said Nigerian intending pilgrims’ satisfaction was paramount to the Hajj Commission at all times.
He also implored them to remain in a state of readiness for their turn to be airlifted to Saudi Arabia.