NAHCON insists on online registration for 2017 hajj

THE National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) will encourage the promotion of online registration for the 2017 Hajj.

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukthar Muhammad, stated this, in Abuja, during an interactive session among the commission, Pakistan’s Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and states’ information technology personnel on the use of information technology in hajj management.

According to a statement by the Head of Media, NAHCON, Uba Mana, Muhammad said the role of information technology in modern-day hajj management could not be overemphasised and Nigeria could afford be an exception in its adoption.

“We have a robust hajj platform. It would not only be useful for Nigeria alone but our brother countries in the West African sub-region would also benefit,” he added.

Muhammad, therefore, enjoined the participants to come up with a robust IT platform that would be deployed for the 2017 hajj, particularly one that would enhance transparent registration and boost intending pilgrims’ confidence in hajj administration.

The chairman expressed appreciation to the Punjab team, the Pakistani Hajj Mission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for facilitating the bilateral relationship which, he said, demonstrated the commitment of the two countries to successful hajj management.

Muhammad praised the Saudi Arabia authorities for the introduction of the e-track system which, he said, had contributed to the success of hajj organisation and management globally.

The PITB team leader, Sister Saima Shaikh, who is also the Director, Training and Development, expressed delight for the opportunity to assist NAHCON in its quest for information technology development.

“I’m really happy to be here. It is an opportunity to assist Nigeria in a good cause.

“However, like any new thing, concerns and reservations would be made on a few challenging areas. But I can assure you that gradually, the people who initially showed resistance would come to appreciate you and the concept,” Shaikh said.

She pledged to continue to work closely with the commission to achieve its ambition.

About 15 states, including Nasarawa, Zamfara, Ondo, Kano, Katsina, Adamawa and Jigawa, participate in the interactive session.

Meanwhile, in its bid to reduce the cost of hajj for 2017, NAHCON has negotiated downward, the cost of accommodations to be used by Nigerian pilgrims in Makkah this year.

A separate statement by Umana said the development followed negotiations between the commission and the landlords/reputable agents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The statement said NAHCON, whose team of inspectors and negotiators were in Saudi Arabia recently, had ensured that there would be no augmentation for pilgrims’ accommodation in Makkah, a success that was also recorded for Madinah accommodation.

By this success, pilgrims will pay between 500 to 900 Riyals less for 2017 hajj in Makkah, while in Madinah, they will pay 614 Riyals less for even better accommodation.

The reduction in the cost of Makkah and Madinah accommodation will, therefore, reflect in the 2017 hajj fare, even as that of Makkah means that there would be no uniform hajj fare this year, the statement said.

“The previous regime of pegging the benchmark of the accommodation at SR4,000 is over and each house will be paid for based on its merit and the laid down criteria by the commission, namely, proximity to the Haram, facilities and age of each accommodation,” it added.

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