By Maryam Garba Hassan
Chairman, National Hajj Commision of Nigeria ÑAHCON, Zikirullah Kunle Hassan, has expressed optimism on the possibility that this year’s Hajj will hold despite the Covid 19 challenges.
He said although the Saudi authorities has not released any official statement with regards to wheather the 2021 Hajj will take place or not.
He however said from stakeholders’ expectations and hopes with the recent procurement of Covid 19 vaccination, there is hope for this year’s Hajj to take place in full performance.
The chairman made the disclosure Friday in Abuja, at a press briefing to mark his one year in office.
“ There is a high hope for Nigeria to be among the nation’s to participate in Hajj’.
He said the hope for Nigeria to participate in this year’s Hajj is also coming from the recent release from Saudi of the countries listed as having higher risk and banned from participating in lesser Hajj which Nigeria is excluded.
He at the moment, Nigerians are among countries whose pilgrims are allowed to perform the lesser Hajj in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He said for those reasons, the commission is making all the necessary preparations towards the 2021 Hajj operations.
Fielding questions from the press on the Covid 19 vaccination of intending pilgrims before take off, the chairman said the Commision is working with residential task force on vivid 19 and have understanding on the need to make available the vaccine during Hajj operations.
According to him, if vaccine becomes a condition by the Saudi Authority before embarking on the pilgrimage, intending pilgrims must be compelled to take.
He said those 2020 intending pilgrims whose deposit for last year’s Hajj is still with the Commision will be given priority during this year’s Hajj.
While enumerating some of the achievements of his administrtaion in the last one year in office, Hassan said theHajj Savings Scheme, a baby nurtured by the past leadership of the Commision and successfully launched in some geopolitical zones in the country, has received a massive registration of intending pilgrims as a result of the robust campaigns and sensitization of the general Muslim public the commisison embarked on.
He said in the less than three months of launching the scheme, a good number of Muslims are already into the scheme adding that with the scheme on ground, 60 per cent of Hajj operations perenniel challenges will be solved.
“Nigeria Hajj authorities will have enough time to plan well ahead of time for Hajj operations, this single achievement will allow for more sanity in the performance of Hajj. By the time the scheme matures fully, it will boost and invigorate our national economy and provide employment for our youth”, he said.