By; JABIRU A HASSAN, Kano.
Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a civil society that reports and monitors Hajj operations in Nigeria, has commended the move by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to begin the preparation for the 2023 Hajj in December 2022.
This was contained in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed, adding that the Saudi Ministry of Hajj will hold a virtual meeting with Nigeria’s National Hajj Commission on the 21st of December, while a similar meeting has been scheduled for the December 18, with the South African Hajj and Umrah Council to review the 2022 exercise and discuss the guidelines for 2023 Hajj.
IHR said it is commendable that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has began reaching out to Hajj-participating countries early for an all-inclusive policy and guidelines for the forthcoming 2023 exercise.
“This will create a seamless synchronization of major procedures and allow hajj missions to troubleshoot its possible peculiar challenges that may inhibit commensurate service delivery to our dear pilgrims.
“So far, the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah have visited Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Egypt where they hold talks ranging from hajj services and diplomatic relations with those countries.
“Notably was the minister’s speech during his visit to Egypt on October 10 where he “expressed appreciation for the efforts and organizational measures taken annually by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior to arrange, prepare and supervise the Egyptian Hajj mission, as well as his aspiration to identify the obstacles that Egyptian pilgrims may face during the Hajj season and any proposals to overcome them,” the statement said.
It described it as a welcome development that the Minister of Hajj is aware and ready to assist participating countries to overcome their peculiar challenges.
“While in Indonesia, Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah said that they discussed a partnership between the Kingdom and Indonesia in creating a better pilgrimage experience as part of the goals of Vision 2030 – meaning that the tour is about the services to hajj and Umrah pilgrims.
“However, IHR urges the Minister of Hajj to extend his visitation to Hajj Nigeria – being the fifth largest hajj contingent and the largest hajj quota in Africa. Such a visit will cement Nigeria and Saudi Arabia’s relationships and also assist the Minister in familiarizing himself with Nigeria’s local hajj structure,” it added.
IHR said that early issuance of 2023 Hajj guidelines would assist missions from participating countries to marshal their operational plans towards a hitch-free exercise.