Nigerian pilgrims assured of better accommodation in Saudi

Nigeria’s Charge d’Affairs in Saudi Arabia, Salisu Umar, and Chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Abdullahi Mukhtar, has assured Nigerian pilgrims that henceforth, they will secure accommodation for them close to the Jamarat, where the symbolic stoning of the devil takes place.

Nigerian Pilgrims had always been accommodated in Tent C area in Muna, a distance of about three Kilometres to the Jamarat.

The long distance, coupled with the harsh Saudi weather, always made it difficult for the pilgrims to carry out the three-day stoning ritual.

Mukhtar said Nigeria would exploit its membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, OIC, to table the matter with the Saudi Arabian authorities.

“Nigeria is a sovereign entity and should not be treated like a country without origin, definition and resources,” he said.

He also remarked that no country was superior to another in Islam.

Earlier, the Emir of Kaltungo and Chairman of Gombe Pilgrims Welfare Board, Saleh Mohammed, complained about the degrading treatment of African and non-Arab countries in Hajj affairs.

Similarly, the Chairman of NAHCON, Mr. Mukhtar said the commission has held series of meetings with the Saudi authorities. He said Saudi Arabian authorities often argued that the place Nigerian pilgrims want to pitch their tents in Muna is surrounded by rocks which generate heat; whereas the place Nigeria currently occupies has better ventilation.

Muktar promised that the Commission would not relent until it secured the Muna accommodation close to Jamarat.

The team inspected feeding and accommodation arrangements at Kano, Gombe, Kaduna, Plateau, Ekiti, Sokoto, Katsina and Bauchi states’ tents.

On his part, the Chairman of the Governing Board of Kano State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Abba Koki, lamented the activities of fraudsters or agents duping pilgrims on the slaughtering of rams (hadiya).

He recommended to NAHCON to incorporate the payment of hadiya into the hajj fares paid by pilgrims while in Nigeria.