By Olawale Ajimotokan, Madinah, Saudi Arabia
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has called on the states hajj welfare boards to improve on the sensitisation efforts of pilgrims on hajj in order to adequately equip them with necessary information that will aid their successful hajj exercise.
Making the call in Madinah Wednesday was the head of Civic Orientation, NAHCON, Umar Bala.
He lamented the lack of adequate sensitisation of pilgrims by some states, while accusing them of putting many pilgrims on planes without the right information regarding their obligations as pilgrims.
“We are all here as Muslims, to promote Islam and to assist our pilgrims to achieve Hajj Mabru. We will collectively work towards ensuring that our pilgrims reap the reward of their efforts to be here by sensitising and educating them of the dos and don’ts of Hajj while here in Madinah, in Mecca and during Arafat,” Bala said.
He stressed that civic orientation embodies the information at the disposal of a pilgrim regarding the use of certain facilities in the hotels, particularly how to operate the lift, the escalator and even the water cistern in the rooms.
He lamented the failure of some states to properly educate their pilgrims, especially those from the rural areas, which he said has ultimately placed the burden to guide them on NAHCON in Madinah.
Bala described civic orientation as anything outside Manasik, relating to the need for someone to conduct his or her Hajj rites such as Niya, Tawaf and Siya.
“And this issue of fixing of gold teeth by the pilgrims, you know, most pilgrims when they come to Saudi, they are always anxious to go and fix gold teeth, thinking that if they didn’t put it, they have not done Hajj”.
The official who refused to specify the states that may have failed in such responsibility, also commended the efforts of many unnamed states for promptly addressing issues regarding their pilgrims.
“Some states need to do more to sensitise and educate their pilgrims on Hajj. In Hajj, we are family and we won’t point accusing finger at any specific person or state, because if things go wrong, it is our country that gets the blames in the eyes of the Muslim world.
He added that it was for that reason that made NAHCON to intervene, using the Ulamas to give adequate sensitisation to the pilgrims in Madinah and has also gone further to secure 5-star accommodations for them very close to the Al-Haram.
He said the provision of comfortable accommodations around the Masjid Al-Haram in the Makkazyya district of Madinah has reduced the incidence of pilgrims missing their ways trying to access the Prophet’s holy Mosque.
About 30,000 Nigerian pilgrims are presently in Madinah and Mecca to participate in this year’s hajj.