Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2016 Hajj: NAHCON reads riot act to private tour operators


 The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Tuesday in Abuja warned Private Tour Operators against collecting money from intending pilgrims and refusing to transport them to Saudi Arabia.
The Executive Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad, gave the warning during the 1st Operational Meeting with Licensed Tour Operators on 2016 Umrah (lesser Hajj) and Hajj operations at the National Mosque.
Muhammad said that the measure was part of efforts by NAHCON to enhance transparency and accountability in the management of Umrah and Hajj exercises in the country.
He said that the commission was collaborating with other relevant agencies to track down illegal operators and bring them to book.
``The Board of NAHCON had resolved that from this year, anybody who collects money from any intending pilgrims, and for no fault of the pilgrims, refuses to carry them to Saudi Arabia to perform that Hajj, that Tour Operator or State Pilgrims Welfare Board will be responsible for the payment of the difference between the fair paid by the pilgrim in the next Hajj that the pilgrim is going to observe.
`` If we take this measure, it will prevent tour operators and the state Pilgrims Boards from collecting money from people without making adequate arrangements for them to travel.
`` Certainly, in addition to that, administrative penalty and others will be also be used by NAHCON on such defaulting tour operators or state pilgrims boards,’’ Muhammad said.
He explained that the meeting was aimed at discussing very critical matters that have to do with the management of Umrah and Hajj to ensure better service delivery to Nigerian Pilgrims.
He, therefore, advised all the stakeholders to comply with the Saudi rules and regulations governing the Umrah to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
`` We have conducted similar meeting with the states and now we are having this engagement with the Private Tour Operators,’’ the executive chairman said.
He said that the meeting provided opportunity for the commission to inform operators about its policies and those of the Saudi Government which had to do with the comfort of the pilgrims, including transportation and accommodation in Munah and Arafat.
The Chairman, Association of Hajj and Umrah Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Abdulfatai Abdulmajeed, assured that the association would abide by both the NAHCON and the Saudi Arabia rules and regulations governing Umrah and Hajj operations.
Abdulmajeed commended the leadership of NAHCON for providing an enabling environment for members of the association to conduct their business effectively and expressed their readiness to partner with the Commission.