By Tambaya Julius
In a significant development, Mr Jalal Ahmad Arabi has assumed the role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
This transition has received commendation from the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of African Non-Arab Countries, reflecting a strong historical connection between the two entities.
Jalal Ahmad Arabi’s appointment comes after the removal of Mr Zikirullah Kunle Hassan and the dissolution of his board, signifying a fresh start for NAHCON.
Upon Mr Arabi’s arrival at NAHCON headquarters, the atmosphere was electrifying as staff celebrated his leadership.
It was a moment of unity and hope for improved services to Nigerian pilgrims.
In his inaugural address, Mr Arabi pledged to collaborate with both local and international stakeholders to restore the prestige of the hajj and umrah industry.
His focus is on delivering excellent services to Nigerian pilgrims.
The Saudi hajj establishment expressed its best wishes to Mr Arabi, underlining their shared historical ties and commitment to providing distinguished services to Nigerian pilgrims.
Various stakeholders in the Saudi hajj and umrah ecosystem have welcomed Mr Arabi’s appointment.
However, some caution him to avoid the mistakes of the past and maintain transparency in his role.
This section addresses the challenges faced during the 2023 hajj, which led to repeated queries from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
It emphasizes the need for improvements in pilgrim welfare, particularly regarding feeding and accommodation.
Former Executive Secretary of Kano State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Muhammad Abba Danbatta, extends his felicitations to Mr Arabi and highlights the importance of avoiding the mistakes that marred Mr Zikirullah’s leadership.
The article revisits the difficulties experienced during Mr Zikirullah’s tenure, such as the failure to airlift intended pilgrims from Kano to Saudi Arabia in 2022.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s strong reaction to the 2022 hajj operation, coupled with the subsequent deterioration in 2023, underscores the need for a comprehensive investigation of NAHCON.