Stakeholders in hajj and umrah services have urged the Saudi Arabia Government to convene an international stakeholders’ council for the formulation and implementation of hajj policies.
They made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at a three-day They gave the advice yesterday in Abuja at the 29th National, states, local governments and other Hajj stakeholders’ conference themed: “Hajj Operations and Global COVID-19 Challenges” organised by ITEC Consultancy Services.
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Speaking at the openings of the Director of ITEC Mallam Abdulwakeel Ademola Abdulwahab, said that the policy and decision of hajj affairs suppose not to be left at the hand of Saudi Arabia Authority alone.
“We also realize that there is need for an international stakeholder’s council for Hajj affairs. A unilateral decision and policy making on Hajj without stakeholders’ inputs is not too well for the Hajj operations,” Abdulwahab said.
According to him, 2020 Hajj was suspended for international pilgrims with the hope that this year hajj shall be achieved, even with lesser pilgrims and that the hope of performing this year hajj was high with the reduction in the spread of COVID-19 and the observance of this year Ramadan Umrah but alas at the peak of everyone’s hope, the Saudi Arabia authority announce the cancellation of this year hajj for the international pilgrims for same reason of COVID-19
“The cancellation of this year hajj for other countries came as a shock and surprise which does not go down well with me and I believe it will be the same with other serious-minded Muslims. Because we believe the pandemic is presently seriously going down and the Ramadan umrah was well managed without any report of infection from the partakers off the event, both at home and abroad,” he said.
He noted that the national hajj managers ushered in a new National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) administration with fresh energy, hope, and initiatives but as Allah want it the pandemic has not let Nigerians enjoy the full-blown ability of the new administration.
He therefore urged the new NAHCON Board to be up and doing and should not allow the present situation to weigh them down.
While saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught some lessons that we can exploit for national benefits, the ITEC boss said that government should have completely handed off from hajj operation, especially in the face of what many private pilgrims tours companies are facing due to the of non-performance of Hajj.
He also suggested the establishment of Hajj Bank, textile and garment industry, and encouragement of Hajj deposit and savings habit for investment.
Also speaking, a Muslim scholar, Mallam Muhammad Jameel Muhammad, urged all Nigerian Muslims and NAHCON not to despair the suspension of this year’s hajj to international pilgrims, but pray to Allah to remove the impediments so that next year’s hajj can be attended by Muslims worldwide.