3,500 pilgrims get N36.58m refund for poor, unrendered services

Friday, November 15, 2019


The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has read the riot act to States’ Muslim pilgrims welfare board in Nigeria over fear of improper utilization of funds for Hajj and Umrah services.

The commission also warned Licensed Tour Operators over high number of complaints received from 2019 pilgrims on services being rendered not being commensurate with package paid for, stated that it would look into the complaints.

Giving this hint in a statement, NAHCON declared that the pilgrims boards must also run separate accounts for Hajj and Umrah.

Stating its readiness to monitor the accounts of Hajj operators, NAHCON maintained in a statement by Head of Public Affairs Unit, Fatima Sanda Usara, that it would “ensure full compliance and proper utilization of the funds.”

The commission also gave a green light to states Muslim pilgrims welfare board in Nigeria to venture into Umrah operations in order to boost their revenue profiles.

The go-ahead was given during the “NAHCON’S review meeting Of 2019 Hajj and first preparatory meeting On 2020 Hajj In Hajj House with SPWB/A/Cs and Licensed Tour Operators,” the statment5 read.

Usara said that “Part of the agreement reached at the meeting according is that SPWBs will be allowed to conduct Umrah operations to boost their revenue generation at the state level.

However, NAHCON urges state pilgrims boards to ensure that they utilise qualified staffs for the Umrah operation.

“They must have dedicated and certified staff to run the Umrah services. They must also run separate accounts for Hajj and Umrah and NAHCON will monitor the accounts to ensure full compliance and proper utilization of the funds,” Usara said.

The statement read; “The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) held its review meeting of 2019 Hajj and first preparatory meeting on 2020 Hajj firstly on Thursday, 24th October 2019 with Chief Executives of Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards/Agencies/Commissions. Those in attendance, apart from the two stakeholders earlier mentioned, were NAHCON Board members, its executive officers and management staff. The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Barrister Abdullah Mukhtar Muhammad chaired both review meetings.

“The gatherings generally acknowledged the improvements made in the 2019 Hajj operations and in order to sustain the successes so far achieved, there was a call to maintain the spirit of teamwork and consultations. Also both gatherings congratulated NAHCON for moving into its new office. They described the building as a prestige to Hajj operations in Nigeria and good legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The following are some of the issues discussed. On Makkah/Madina accommodation it was agreed that funds for booking of lodgings would be deposited early and directly to building owners for cheaper bargains. During operations, each state must deploy a minimum of one official to Madinah in advance of its pilgrims’ arrival for smoother coordination.”

On the issue of Masha’ir: in reference to the retreat in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa, the Commission lamented the several requests for extension of deadline for registration as compounding the Mina congestion problem.

“Therefore NAHCON cautioned both state boards and Licensed Tour Operators to abide by early registration and to stick to deadlines. The Commission assured that if this arrangement is respected, there is certainty that service providers in Saudi Arabia will reserve adequate space for pilgrims as requested in a formal communication.

“It is in relation to this that the Commission approved status quo to be maintained on remittance of Hajj fare; deadline for closure of registration will be announced in due course. Intending pilgrims are to deposit about N1.5m in three instalments to their states’ pilgrims’ boards in bank draft.”

As for Licensed Tour Operators, due to number of complaints received from pilgrims on services being rendered not being commensurate with package paid for, the commission said that measures have been taken to ensure that the package a pilgrim pays for is what will be served to them.

“Towards this, the Commission will define types of packages available and cost of each. The packages will be publicised in the mass media. Consequent upon this, state boards and Licensed Tour Operators must register all their pilgrims on the e-portal and particulars of the intending pilgrim be supplied on the portal. The Commission will not tolerate pilgrims being registered on portals other than that which it is created for. This deviation has hitherto remained an impediment to reliable data bank for security reasons, research and reference purposes.

“Similarly, Tour Operators have up to November 30th to submit online application forms for 2020 Hajj license to avoid disqualification.”


 

Source: https://www.newtelegraphng.com/2019/11/2019-hajj-3500-pilgrims-get-n36-58m-refund-for-poor-unrendered-services/


 

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