Probe into Difficulties Faced by Nigerian Pilgrims
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the circumstances leading to the challenges experienced by Nigerian pilgrims during this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia. The motion to initiate the probe was moved by Hon Ahmed Idris during the plenary session. Over 95,000 Nigerians participated in the holy pilgrimage, and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria administered the allocated slots.
Large Turnout and Poor Service Delivery
The 2023 Hajj witnessed one of the largest turnouts in its history, with global media estimating the figure to be over 2.5 million pilgrims. However, the lawmaker highlighted several challenges faced by Nigerian pilgrims, including poor service delivery by some airline operators. Arik, in particular, was unable to airlift pilgrims on time due to inadequate aircraft. Other issues mentioned included lack of adequate tent accommodation, substandard living conditions, inadequate medical attention, transportation problems, and difficulties related to passports and airport slots.
Stranded Pilgrims and Discrepancies in Tent Accommodation
The motion brought attention to the plight of Nigerian pilgrims, emphasizing that many were left stranded in Mina due to insufficient tents and oversubscription. As a result, pilgrims resorted to sleeping on roads, under bridges, and in nearby mosques. It was also revealed that some VIP pilgrims who paid a significant amount for VIP tents did not receive the expected level of accommodation. The motion called for a thorough investigation by the Committee on Pilgrims Affairs to address these anomalies and provide a detailed report within four weeks for further legislative action.