Hajj 2023: Reps To Investigate Difficulties Faced by Nigerian Pilgrims

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By Kasim Isa Muhammad

The House of Representatives is set to investigate the alleged difficulties faced by Nigerian pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2023.

The decision to probe the matter was made following a motion presented by Hon Ahmed Idris during the plenary session.

The motion highlighted that over 95,000 Nigerians participated in this year’s Hajj, with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria being responsible for the allocation of the slots.

During the session, the lawmaker expressed concern over the significant turnout of over 2.5 million pilgrims worldwide, making it one of the largest gatherings in the history of the annual ritual.

He raised issues regarding poor service delivery by certain airline operators, specifically mentioning Arik Air’s inability to transport pilgrims on time due to a lack of adequate aircraft.

The lawmaker also listed various challenges encountered by Nigerian pilgrims, such as insufficient tent accommodation at Mina and Arafat, substandard tents with unfavorable living conditions, inadequate medical attention during emergencies, and transportation problems.

He further emphasized that some Nigerian pilgrims missed their flights due to strict passport regulations and the unavailability of airport slots for Nigerian airlines to transport pilgrims back to Nigeria from Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, he pointed out that approximately 25,000 Nigerian pilgrims, including those who paid for VIP tents, were stranded in Mina due to an oversubscription of tents, forcing them to sleep on roads, under bridges, and in nearby mosques.

The lawmaker stressed that even VIP pilgrims who paid a substantial amount for VIP tents faced issues, receiving tents of lower value than what they had paid for.

The House has, however, tasked the yet-to-be-constituted Committee on Pilgrims Affairs to conduct a thorough investigation into the numerous anomalies that occurred during the 2023 Hajj.

Similarly, the committee has been instructed to report its findings back to the House within four weeks to enable further legislative action.

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