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Hajj: NAHCON’s 43-member advance team departs for Saudi

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Hajj pilgrims

Ahead of the commencement of 2024 Hajj operations, a group of 43 advance team of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON will depart Abuja on Sunday for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for the final preparation to receive the first set of Nigerian pilgrims from lKebbi State who would be arriving the Kingdom on Wednesday, May 15.

The team, made up of 35 NAHCON officials and eight medical personnel will be in Saudi Arabia to organize and coordinate the reception, accommodation, feeding and transportation, health and general welfare of pilgrims throughout the Hajj period.

Addressing the team in a brief farewell ceremony at the Hajj House headquarters of the commission, the chairman/CEO, Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi, urged the team members to live up to expectation by discharging their duties in accordance with their mandate, stressing that their performance could make or mar the success of the exercise.

“You are the first point of call or contact with the pilgrims. Their impression and perception of your action or activities will go a long way towards assessing the commission.

“If you get it right, we get it right and on the contrary, if you get it wrong, the rest will just be about crisis management. Therefore, you must be up and doing in order to earn our reward here and that of Allah in the Hereafter for treating His Guests well. They are the reason you are there, so at every point in time, make sure you attend or treat them with courtesy and respect,” Arabi counselled.

He, however, warned that the commission would take drastic step against anyone who may be reported to have deviated from the rules of engagement, stating that he would not hesitate to recall any staff accused of dereliction of duties.

The chairman added: “Take the admonition seriously, the bar has been raised and the expectation is high. You have been carefully selected because of the trust we have in you and as such, you need to brace up. Laxity and procrastination will not be tolerated.”

Arabi also stressed the need for medical personnel to respect their patients and pilgrims on whose essence they are going to Saudi Arabia, staying “you must serve and treat them fairly, gently and with utmost respect.”

He reminded the team to work in unity and harmony, pointing out that as the representatives of the commission and Nigeria, they would be assessed and monitored.

“I want to urge you to work as team, cooperate with one another. Those of you who are veterans should assist and guide those who are new on the job so that we can achieve success collectively,” the chairman concluded.

Speaking earlier, the Commissioner in Operations, Inspectorate and Licensing (OIL), Prince Anofiu Olarewaju Elegushi, called on the team to be good ambassadors of the commission and assured them of the management’s support.

While urging the team to be patient with the pilgrims, minimize their complaints and focus on the task at hand, he prayed for Allah’s guidance for each member in carrying out their assignment successfully and wished them a safe flight to Saudi Arabia

Speaking in the same vein, the Commissioner in charge of Planning, Research, Statistics and Library Services (PRSILS), Professor Abubakar A. Yagawal, said: “You are our eyes and ears of the Management. Please represent us effectively before our coming.”

Responding on behalf of the team, Alhaji Ibrahim Mahmud, who is the Madina Coordinator, expressed appreciation to the management for the trust and confidence reposed in them and assured of their determination and readiness to make this year’s Hajj more successful that previous years.

“We will ensure that pilgrims get value for money and also do everything possible that pilgrims perform their Hajj rites without hitches Insha Allah,” he said.

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