Announce date of commencement of 2024 hajj, IHR urges NAHCON

The Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) has called on the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to announce the date of the commencement of transporting Nigerian intending pilgrims from Nigeria to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The call is being made less than 10 days to the commencement of airlift of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

According to IHR, almost all major hajj participating countries had announced the date of their inaugural flights to ferry their pilgrims. The CSO said it has always been a tradition in the country for NAHCON to announce the date, venue and which states’ pilgrims would be transported during the county’s inaugural flight to Saudi Arabia.

“We are sad to note that with just a few days left until the closure of the e track portal for visa issuance, NAHCON is yet to announce when and where the inaugural flight will take place,” IHR said in a statement Sunday, signed by its national coordinator, Ibrahim Mohammed.

The CSO said the top 5 hajj countries have so far announced when they will begin transporting their pilgrims.

“Indonesia’s Director General of Hajj and Umrah Organisations, Hilman Latief in a statement recently said the first batch of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims would depart for the Amir Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz International Airport (AMAA) in Medina on May 12–23, 2024,”

“The second batch will depart for the King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAAIA) in Jeddah from May 24 to June 10. Also, Bangladesh and Pakistan announced 9TH May as date of commencement of airlift while Malaysia will start airlift on May 11, even the Ghana Hajj Board has publicly announced 18th of May as the date to kick start airlifting of its pilgrims,” the statement reads in part.

IHR said it is beginning to get apprehensive over the deliberate withholding of vital information from pilgrims – whose interests the commission and states Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards are to serve all the time. NAHCON as the apex hajj regulatory body is responsible for selecting and coordinating airlifts of Nigeria pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and back.