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NAHCON seeks refund for poor food given to pilgrims in Saudi

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said the commission will seek a refund to pilgrims in areas the Saudi Arabian authorities failed to…

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said the commission will seek a refund to pilgrims in areas the Saudi Arabian authorities failed to deliver adequate services.

In a statement by the commission on Wednesday, the Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikirullah Kunle Hassan, during visitation to pilgrims at their various state camps in Mina, disclosed that a letter had already been written to relevant authorities in the kingdom on the feeding arrangements which the pilgrims had complained about.

Lack of savoury food is one of the challenges Nigerian pilgrims have to contend with after several issues that had marred the 2022 hajj operations in the country.

Recall that the commission was not able to airlift over 3,000 pilgrims for the holy pilgrimage due to what it described as technical glitches.

Also, the fare for the pilgrimage was increased and those who had paid deposit since 2019 were given little time to complete the 100 per cent hike.

Those that made the journey were also given half or a little of the $800 Basic Travelling Allowance they are entitled to, among others.

However, the chairman explained that the feeding in Mina was poor due to Saudi Authorities taking full control of it unlike previous years.

The statement reads in part, “Alhaji Zikirullah informed the pilgrims that already a letter had been written to the relevant Saudi authorities, expressing Nigeria’s displeasure with the feeding arrangements and highlighting the areas of poor service, particularly food, which he said without the prompt intervention of the commission and the discipline exhibited by affected pilgrims, could have led to serious crisis.”

The complaint on poor food given to pilgrims was addressed to the Chairman Company of Mutawifs for Pilgrims of African Non-Arab Countries in Macca, dated 10 July, 2022.

“I have the honour to bring to your kind attention complaints on inadequate and poor meals supplied to Nigerian pilgrims at Muna. If not that it was quickly addressed by the commission, it would have led to serious security breach at the Masha’ir. In view of the above, the commission deemed that you refund to the aggrieved pilgrims total cost of unsupplied and rejected meals,” it reads in part.

Zikirullah appreciated the pilgrims for their patience and understanding despite the challenges, stressing that hajj is a test of human endurance in seeking Allah’s favour.

He therefore, urged them to continue to be worthy ambassadors of Nigeria throughout their stay in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, another leader of the delegation, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee overseeing NAHCON, informed the pilgrims that they were there to felicitate with them on the successful completion of the 2022 hajj despite unforeseen challenges.

The Ambassador of Nigeria to Saudi Arabia, Alhaji Yahaya Lawal, while speaking to the pilgrims also enjoined them to continue to be of good conduct in the Kingdom and to observe rules and regulations.

He assured that his office would continue to interface with Saudi authorities to ensure that Nigerians are  given the best of services.

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