Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Japa: NAHCON vows to prevent Nigerian Muslims from absconding during Saudi Hajj

“It is not that it will completely eradicate it, but at least it will reduce it to the barest minimum.”

• June 2, 2023

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it has implemented measures to record zero abscondment in the ongoing 2023 Hajj operation.

On Thursday, NAHCON’s head of the passports management control committee, Tajudeen Akande, said this in an interactive session with journalists in Madinah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

He said the sole responsibility of the committee was to keep pilgrims’ passports, saying, “Hajj management is like a chain, and one of the links in Hajj management is passport management.”

Mr Akande said that the commission had 70 per cent control of pilgrims’ passports in Madina, adding that other countries like Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia had joined the initiative.

“Right from the 2019 Hajj operation, the level of abscondment had drastically reduced because of measures introduced by the commission and this year, we are going to record zero abscondment because of enhanced awareness,” he said.

The NAHCON official added that effective passport management was key to ensuring the smooth transportation of pilgrims in and out of Saudi Arabia.

”It is from passports management that the committee arranges pilgrims’ transportation right from their arrival at the airport in Saudi Arabia, without which passport they will not be cleared,” he explained. “So, it is this same passport that will be used to convey each pilgrim from the buses to their accommodation. Therefore, passport management is a key change in the Hajj management process.”

“And not only that,” Mr Akande pointed out, “it is also a procedure to check abscondment because some pilgrims have another mindset of coming to look left and right to see if they can abscond, but if their passport is kept somewhere that may prevent them.”

But the Hajj official admitted, “It is not that it will completely eradicate it, but at least it will reduce it to the barest minimum. Once your passport is not with you, then you will think twice.”

He also explained that in the past, Saudi Arabia, through its agencies, managed pilgrims’ passports.

“But from 2021, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj and Umrah directed Hajj participating countries to keep their passports, and that was why the leadership of NAHCON under Zikrullah Hassan came up with the initiative,” Mr Akande revealed. 


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