The National leadership of the Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari over the appointment of Alhaji Zhikrullah Olakunle Hassan as the new Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
Alhaji Hassan was last week confirmed as the substantive chairman, alongside 18 other members of board of the Commission by the Senate.
In a congratulatory message to the new Chairman which was signed by Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun and Alhaji Tajudeen Adebanjo, National President and National Secretary respectively, the body appreciated President Buhari for appointing a Muslim from the South West, to head the Commission.
Speaking formally for the first time since his nomination in 2019, the apex body for Muslim Media Practitioners in the country said that Hassan’s appointment by Mr President is a demonstration of their belief in Mr President’s detribalised nature.
“We have no doubt that Hassan’s appointment is a square peg in a square hole going by his achievements as the helmsman of the Osun State Muslim Pilgrims Board for eight years.
“Besides, Alhaji Hassan is an erudite scholar with wider acceptability and one of the contemporary scholars whose views on topical issues are in tandem with the Qur’an and Sunnah.
“We believe that he will live up to the expectations of millions of Nigerian Muslims and surpass the achievements of his predecessors in office.
“We are not unaware of the landmark successes recorded by the immediate past Chairman, Abdullah Mukhtar.
“We urge Hassan to improve on them and fine-tune the hajj process with the support of other members of the Commission.” MMPN advised.
As the watchdog of the society, Alhaji Balogun implored the new NAHCON Chairman to explore modalities so that hajj could be brought to the level of the common man in the society, whose financial predicament is a big stumbling block to their desire of performing the last pillar of Islam by seeing to the reduction in Hajj fares.
“We also want the Chairman to look into the man-hours lost boarding flights to and from Saudi Arabia. Reduction of that time is achievable as been practised by the private hajj operators and other Nationals.
“Similarly, the issue of accommodation in Madinah and Makkah needs to be seriously looked into. Many Nigerians still reside at houses far from the Masjid Haram especially in Makkah. This deprives them the virtue of observing five daily prayers in Masjid Haram and engagement in Tawaf (Circumambulation of the Ka’aba) as many times as they wish and also denies them of some facilities.
“As said that data is life, many pilgrims do spend their BTA to buy data instead of using it for other meaningful things.
“Meals are another big challenge for pilgrims especially in Madinah, Muna and Arafat where NAHCON is in charge of providing meals for all pilgrims.
“Mr Chairman, kindly take cognisance of the diverse demographic going for hajj, hence choice of meals should not be generalised.
“Those who get the contracts of providing the meal must take note of what certain tribes love to eat and provide such, instead of one-type-of-meal fits all.”
MMPN assured the new chairman of partnering with the commission in other areas such as media awareness and advocacy, as well as hajj logistics geared towards improving hajj services in Nigeria.