As the Hajj 2023 comes to an end for Nigerian pilgrims, the Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a civil society organisation that monitors and reports Hajj and Umrah activities, has called for a quick review of this year’s Hajj operations with a view to taking proactive measures that will ensure a smooth 2024 Hajj.
This call is contained in a statement signed by the National Coordinator of IHR, Malam Ibrahim Muhammed, and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
“We acknowledge the efforts and support jointly extended to the cause of 2023 Hajj exercise by the Nigerian Hajj Stakeholders, especially the apex Hajj regulatory body – the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), States Muslim Pilgrims Boards and Agencies, appointed Hajj Carriers, security agencies, para-military establishments, NGOs and volunteers, in making 2023 Hajj a relative success,” the organisation declared.
The CSO added that it equally noted the efforts of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his Vice, Kashim Shettima, and other diplomatic officials towards the success of 2023 Hajj.
“We equally commend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its commitment towards the welfare of guests of Al Rahman.
“Transporting about 95,000 Nigerians to another country and returning them back safely is not an easy task. At the same time, housing over 2.5 million pilgrims from 163 Hajj participating countries for over a period of two months by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an extraordinary achievement”.
In the same vein, airlifting 72,189 pilgrims from a single airport in 28 days by five Hajj carriers is a great effort and we commend all those involved in this feat”.
IHR however advised that the challenges of poor services experienced in 2023 Hajj must be reviewed and addressed with a view to avoiding similar unfair experiences.
The only way to avoid the challenges encountered, particularly in Mashaer, is to quickly and logically begin preparations for 2024 Hajj in line with the newly released Calendar of events by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“Sentiments and self-interest should take a back seat in the planning of 2024 Hajj,” the statement said.