By Mariam Zubair Abubakar

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has constituted a 20-man team for the inspection and negotiation of rates for Pilgrims accommodation in Saudi Arabia. The team led by the Commissioner in charge of Policy, Personnel, Management and Finance (PPMF) Dr. Yusuf Adebayo Ibrahim was drawn from all departments and units of the commission. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Chairman/CEO, Bar. Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad tasked the members to discharge their assignments and to uphold the principles of the team work, co-ordination, thoroughness and piety without compromising standards.

Bar. Muhammad spoke on the need to carry out a comprehensive inspection of the facilities that will ensure the comfort of the intending pilgrims and also make appropriate recommendations to the commission for further negotiations with Service Providers. According to him, there will also be no benchmark rates this year. All properties must be qualitative in terms of accessories in a way that the pilgrims will get value for their money. He stated that states should be encouraged to merge and secure a single and high capacity/quality building to get good prices and also promote unity in the 2018 Hajj exercise.

The Chairman advised the team to co-ordinate and meet with the Landlords/Agents for better negotiations on the best prices that will not have much impact on the 2018 Hajj fare. He tasked them to make inputs towards making Hajj 2018 successful, adding that the templates given to them should serve as a guide in determining the price of any building, according to standards set by the commission. He further advised the team members to always remember the Amanah being entrusted on them by the pilgrims, fear Allah and make their country proud.

The standards set by the Commission, provide that pilgrims accommodations should be a high-rise buildings capable of accommodating five hundred (500) pilgrims and above; which distance should not be more than 2km to the Haram, and a recommended room ratio of four beds to a room which should also be ensuite. The building capacity should determine the elevator ratio and the building should have provision for restaurants and prayer area, the quality of air conditioners should also be considered for the comfort of the pilgrims.

Responding on behalf of the team, the Commissioner in charge of Policy, Personnel, Management and Finance (PPMF) Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim expressed appreciation to the Chairman for giving them the opportunity to serve. He assured that the team would discharge its duties conscientiously without fear or favour and to the best of their abilities.