THE National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has solicited the support of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammadu Babandede, for smooth coordination and realisation of the Makkah Route Initiative (MRI).
The head of Public Affairs of NAHCON, Mrs Fatima Usara, said in a statement in Abuja that the chairman of the commission, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, sought the support of the NIS when he visited the Babandede in his office.
The initiative involves the screening of intending pilgrims from the Nigeria exit point in order to eliminate the long hours in screening at the point of entry to Makkah.
NAHCON is expected to invite officials involved in hajj operation from Saudi Arabia to conduct the exercise with the Nigerian authorities.
The chairman of NAHCON held similar coordination meetings with the Minister of Interior, Ra’uf Arigbesola and the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Rabi’u Yadudu, when he paid them courtesy visits.
Hassan appreciated the role of the Nigeria Immigration Service in the success of Hajj operations
He noted that the service, being an important stakeholder in hajj exercise, would play a critical role in the success of the initiative.
The NAHCON boss emphasised that the initiative would reduce the time spent at the airports during the screening of the large contingent of Nigerian pilgrims to hajj.
Hassan disclosed that five other countries had commenced the local screening procedure and Nigeria would hopefully be the next.
Babandede promised to deploy all resources for the success of the project.
He identified key areas where the service had made improvement in screening of international passengers and made suggestions for further enhancement and collaboration in pilgrimage-related matters.
Meanwhile, NAHCON has commiserated with the family and friends of a former commissioner who represented the South-East on its board, Sheikh Adam Idoko, who died on Wednesday in Abuja.
In a separate statement by Usara, the commission described Sheikh Idoko as a champion of the Muslim community in eastern Nigeria and beyond.
The commission said the deceased, who was a one-time executive secretary of the Enugu State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, served as commissioner representing South East on its board from 2007 to 2014.
“Sheikh Idoko will be missed as a patron to many community service groups who personally excelled in the empowerment of his people.
“The Hajj and Umrah community and indeed the entire Muslim world will surely feel the vacuum created by the loss of the vibrant, vastly experienced Sheikh Adam Idoko. NAHCON joins the world in praying for gentle repose of his soul in Jannatul Firdaus.”