Ahead of the 2024 Hajj exercise, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has assured optimum service delivery to Nigeria pilgrims for rewarding spiritual experience.
Although, the Saudi authority said huge investment and financial commitment were being dedicated to modernize pilgrims’ experiences at the holy land, the Kingdom assured that will not impact additional financial burdens to pilgrims.
Chairman, Saudi Arabian Service Provider Establishment (Mutawiff) for African Non-Arab Countries, Dr. Ahmad Abbas Sindi, gave the assurance on Sunday when he met with leadership of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in Abuja.
Dr. Sindi who was on operational visit to Nigeria to synergize arrangement with the Hajj Commission disclosed a renewed commitment of the Kingdom to improve service to pilgrims especially at the sacred places of Mina and Arafat.
The Saudi delegate who acknowledged the ugly challenges pilgrims encountered during 2023 exercise, revealed plans to upscale the manpower system and control of the Arafat project aimed at enhancing the welfare of the visitors.
Mindful of the concern of Nigeria pilgrims who were not satisfied with the taste of foods provided by Saudi based caterers, Dr. Sindi hinted plan to incorporate local catering service henceforth to ensure Nigerian pilgrims are served promptly and with local delicacies.
“We have engaged vendors to source produce from Nigeria and hired Nigerian cooks to ensure that meals served during the Masha’ir align with Nigerian tastes. We are fully committed to implementing these improvements and ensuring efficient food delivery from the kitchen to the tents.
“We promise a remarkable Hajj in 2024, Insha Allah. While we have committed a significant investment to upgrade services, pilgrims can expect reduced or unchanged charges. Our aim is to ensure a memorable Hajj in 2024, Insha Allah.
“Arrangements have been made to increase the frequency of shuttle buses between Mina, Muzdalifa, Arafat, and Makkah to address previous transportation issues. The bus services would operate 24 hours to accommodate pilgrims.”
Earlier, the acting Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Mallam Jalal Ahmed Arabi, appealed to the Saudi Arabian service provider, the Mutawiff of African -Arab Countries, to significantly enhance services for Nigerian pilgrims in the Masha’ir.
“As partners, we are here to discuss, collaborate engage, and interact, with the aim of nurturing this partnership. The 2023 Hajj has gone and the 2024 Hajj is approaching. Therefore, it is essential to address all details and ensure a smoother experience than what was achieved in the past”, he stated.
Statement issued by the Deputy Director, Information and Publication, NAHCON, Mousa Ubandawaki, said the meeting which was attended by some secretaries of state pilgrims welfare boards, executives and members of the Association of Hajj and Umrah operators of Nigeria (AHUON), dwelled on concerns regarding services in Masha’ir during the 2023 Hajj and outlined plans for the 2024 Hajj, particularly in the areas of feeding, transportation, space allocation, security and refunds, among other issues.