NAHCON Warns Intending Pilgrims Against Violating Immigration Laws
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has warned intending pilgrims for the 2019 hajj pilgrimage to avoid overstaying after the pilgrimage in Saudi as tough penalties await defaulters.
The warning came during a meeting of NAHCON with the General Car Syndicates (GCS), the agency in charge of pilgrims’ transportation throughout Hajj season.
NAHCON agreed to introduce collaborative measures that will bring visa/immigration violation to an end.
At the meeting, the president of GCS, Mr. Abdulrahman bin Mayouf AlHarbi made clarifications over allegations that Nigerian pilgrims are being over-charged on transport fares compared to those from other countries.
He said the fares are officially determined, government controlled and payments were made with all sense of transparency.
On current contract for pilgrims’ conveyance during 2019 Hajj, the President disclosed that government had rolled out a comprehensive social safety transport system, and it mandated all transport companies to provide new buses not more than 10 years old.
He said the new policy has jerked up the cost of transportation, which had remained the same in the past 30 years.
The NAHCON Chairman, Barrister Abdullah Mukhtar Muhammad made a plea for this increase to be shelved aside this year due to general economic downturn all over the world.
He argued that procurement of these vehicles is a long-term investment whose proceeds should be reaped gradually.
However, his counterpart in the GCS declared that it is a decision solely under the purview of Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
The GCS President expressed satisfaction with the Commission, proclaiming that NAHCON has been one of the best in the last three years and has remained a role model to other countries. Agreements for basic transport services were signed.
In another meeting with the establishment for African Non-Arabic speaking countries (Mu’assasa), it concluded that tawaf (circumbulation of the Ka’aba) will be regulated in a similar way with Jam’rat (stoning) for effective crowd control.
NAHCON also made a demand for pilgrims’ accommodation at Masha’ir (holy sites) particularly Arafat, be equipped with air conditioners instead of dessert coolers, which was put under consideration.
Furthermore, the National Hajj Commission was well commended for the 2018 Hajj which all the Hajj organizers so far agreed was one of the best in recent years.