Nigeria and Saudi Arabia Forge Strategic Alliance for Smooth 2024 Hajj Pilgrimage

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah have formalized a commitment to ensure a seamless Hajj exercise in 2024 by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The signing ceremony, held in Jeddah, brought together key representatives from Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. Notable attendees included Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, NAHCON acting Chairman Malam Jalal Arabi, Consul-General in Jeddah Ambassador Bello Hussaini Kazaure, and senior officers from the Nigerian Mission in Saudi Arabia and NAHCON. The Saudi Arabian delegation was led by the Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Taufiq Al-Rabiah.

In a statement signed by NAHCON’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Hajiya Fatima Usara, it was revealed that the ministers engaged in a brief discussion before the MOU signing. During the discussion, Nigeria sought a lasting solution to the shortage of tents in Mina and advocated for more favorable terms for Nigerian carriers during airlifts.

Dr. Rabiah, the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, acknowledged the challenge of space in Mina and assured that efforts are underway to maximize the use of the available two million square meters to accommodate the over two million pilgrims performing Hajj annually. He expressed the ministry’s support for measures aimed at providing the best services to pilgrims.

Highlighting the importance of early monetary deposits for reserving preferred spaces in Masha’ir, Dr. Al-Rabiah aligned with the Ministry’s updated policy of first-come, first-served to ensure fairness in space allocation. He encouraged NAHCON to leverage the new policy to secure choice spaces in Masha’ir.

The Nigerian team extended an invitation to Dr. Rabiah to visit Nigeria, which was accepted, with a commitment to visit soon. The signed MOU solidifies the collaboration between the two countries, paving the way for a well-organized and successful Hajj pilgrimage in 2024.

This strategic alliance aims to address logistical challenges, enhance accommodation arrangements, and optimize pilgrimage spaces for the benefit of the over two million pilgrims who embark on this sacred journey annually.

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