By Maryam Garba Hassan
Chairman of the National Hajj Commisison of Nigeria NAHCON, Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, has called for the cooperation of muslim religious leaders in the country towards achieving a successful Hajj operations.
The chairman of the Commission made the call yesterday in Abuja at a meeting with the ulamas.
Hassan said the ulamas are invited for interaction with the leadership of the commission, to intimate them with the vision and activities of the new leadership and to seek for their advice as veterans on Hajj matters as well as to request for their continuous support with prayers in the task to serve the guests of Allah.
The meeting with the religious leaders was the first since the inauguration of the 4th Board over a year ago.
He thanked the ulamas for the positive roles they have been playing in advisory capacity, educating and mobilizing the pilgrims before and during Hajj activities.
Hassan who commended the religious leaders for their valuable contributions said with partnership of this nature they can do more to improve the well-being of pilgrims in particular and Nigerian Muslims in general.
He disclosed that within the 1 year of his administration which commenced on the13th February, 2020, the board has been working tirelessly to improve the management of Hajj and made a solemn pledge to make Hajj fare affordable to enable more Nigerians, especially the indigent citizens to fulfill their dreams of performing Hajj.
“To achieve this objective, the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) was launched in Kano on 4th October, 2020.
The Scheme was designed for all Nigerian pilgrims irrespective of their financial status to save gradually for the fulfillment of the 5th Pillar of Islam and at the same time provide opportunity for financial inclusion through investment”, he said .
“It is a critical part of our master plan to not only make Hajj affordable, but to make a better coordination in the airlift and accommodation of pilgrims among other services”.
He said the launch of the Hajj Savings Scheme has been done in five of the six geo-political zones in the country with only the North-East remaining, which will come up in Bauchi, on 25th March, 2021. He said sensitizations on the Scheme have been conducted in 27 states. He said already thousands of Nigerians have so far subscribed to the scheme adding that the Commision is soliciting for the support of the Muslim schoolars for sensitization and mobilization of potential subscribers to the Scheme.
He said priority is being given to establishing the Hajj Training Institute (HTI) with the aim to professionalize Hajj management and to deepen the knowledge and intellectual capacity of the Ummah about Hajj beyond the scope of the rituals and Hajj economy.
“ We have made tremendous progress in this direction, particularly in the areas of curriculum development and accreditation. The Institute will take-off God willing before the end of the year 2021”, he said.
According to him, the Commission has embarked on Digital Transformation of its activities to reduce the cost of doing business and to boost it’s competence in the increasing digitalization of Hajj process being rolled out annually by Saudi authorities.
He said in this regard, the automation of the commission’s finance department has reached advance stage.
He said the Commission is making concerted effort to enter into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to make some of its Hajj camps and landed assets economically functional all-year round to improve it’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).