The Saudi Ministry of Hajj has announced the allocation of 95,000 Hajj seats to Nigeria in the 2024 Hajj exercise.
A statement by the Deputy Director Information & Publications, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Mousa Ubandawaki, said the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah made this known to NAHCON via a virtual meeting, Tuesday.
The meeting, which officially marked the start of the 2024 Hajj was attended by the Chairman, House Committee on Hajj, Hon Jafar Mohammed, representatives of the Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Abubakar Sani Bello as well as the Nigerian Consul-General in Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Bello Abdulkadir.
Nigeria is expected to finalise all arrangements and negotiation with service providers, including the catering, accommodation and transportation within the next 120 days while the Commission is to submit the list of medical and other officials very early as the Kingdom plans to work with the two bodies closely.
Leading the Saudi team, Dr Badr Mohammed Al-Somi urged the Commission to strive to meet up with the timeline in order to enable the ministry make adequate plans to avoid the experience and incidents witnessed in this year’s Hajj operations.
Earlier in his address, the chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, had called on the Saudi authorities to expedite action on the refund of the feeding and tent services not provided in the Mashair.
He stated the need for the Kingdom to disengage from the provision of feeding service in the Mashair and allow the country to take over Muna and Arafat to afford the pilgrims opportunities to enjoy delicacies they are used to at home.
Meanwhile, the Chairman has sought for the support and assistance of the Ministry in securing the refund paid to the General Authority on Saudi Aviation (GACA) on behalf of the Nigerian Carriers in 2019.
Alhaji Hassan also called on the ministry to review its decision by allowing the Nigerian pilgrims to depart through the King Abdul- Aziz International Airport Jeddah instead of Madina as that would create bottlenecks and logistics problems for the pilgrims.