NAHCON signs agreement With Air Carriers
By Fatima Sanda Usara
The Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, on Friday, June 3, 2022 signed Hajj airlift agreement with three successful airlines.
The airlines are Max Air, Azman Air and FlyNas. The former two are Nigerian based while FlyNas is the Saudi Arabian based airline, satisfying the airlift quota sharing formular between the host country and other Hajj participating countries. The NAHCON Chairman informed that the Commission’s advance team will leave for Saudi Arabia on the sixth of June while the inaugural flight will take-off on 9th of June from Maiduguri, Borno state.
Seven airlines; Max Air, FlyNas, Azman Air, Med-View Airline, Skypower Express, Westlink Airlines and Arik Air, applied for the slots. After the exercise, those selected ranked the best three whose names were forwarded to the presidency for approval before sealing the contract agreement.
States allocated to specific airlines are as follows: Max Air is to fly pilgrims from 13 states namely-Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau and Taraba. Azman Air is entrusted with conveyance of pilgrims from 16 states and the Armed Forces. The states are Kano, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Ogun, Ondo, Rivers, and Yobe. Meanwhile, FlyNas would fly pilgrims from Edo, FCT- Abuja, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Zamfara- making eight states.
In his speech, the NAHCON Chief Executive Officer congratulated the successful airlines and enjoined them to treat all pilgrims with the VIP treatment which they deserve. He described the contract signing occasion as the beginning of Hajj operations because there cannot be Hajj without air transportation from Nigeria.
In his submission, Commissioner Operations, Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa described the gathering as epoch after almost three years without Hajj. He also congratulated the successful carriers while directing them to see this as a challenge to do their best. The Commission, he informed had created an aviation monitoring committee saddled with the responsibility of monitoring their performances.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan presented a formal request for additional slots to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, but the Commission is still awaiting any response. Out of the 43,008 slots allocated to Nigeria, 71% went to states’ pilgrims, 21% to Licensed Tour Operators, and 8% for medical officials, security, aviation industry, and other pilgrims’ assistants.
In another development, the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Kunle Hassan on Thursday, 2nd June, 2022 inaugurated the Central Security Committee. Committee members were drawn from National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, Office of the Presidency, Department of State Services, DSS, Nigerian Police Force, NPF, National Drug, Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Nigeria Customs’ Service, NCS, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt, Practices, Commission, ICPC, Nigeria Security and Civil, Defense Corps, NSCDC, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, and Special Services Office (SSO).
Alhaji Hassan described the role of the committee as very important whose impact would be felt by all. He urged them to be the Commission’s eyes and ears on all issues; be it pilgrims’ feeding, accommodation, medicals, transportation, etc. He lamented the fact that NAHCON does not have the luxury of time for preparations compared to previous years, therefore they are expected to be proactive and to always provide security for the safety of all pilgrims.
Chairman of the Central Security Committee and who doubles as representative of the presidency thanked NAHCON for the opportunity to serve the Nigerian state and the Almighty at the same time.
The Committee has the following terms of reference:
Intelligence gathering on the activities of pilgrims both at onshore and offshore operational points in order to detect any action capable of tarnishing the image of the country;
(ii) Timely detection of corrupt activities of Hajj managers, as well as taking appropriate actions to guide against re- occurrence;
(iii) Proactive actions to prevent any act of insecurity/attacks at various departure centers, Hajj camps and other areas where pilgrims are gathered through proper liaison with State commands of the various security organizations;
(iv) Conduct public opinions survey among the pilgrims on all aspects of welfare, feeding, accommodation, transportation, payment of BTA etc. during on shore/off shore operations, in order to ensure compliance with specifications as contain in the 2022 Hajj guidelines;
(v) Intelligence gathering on the activities of Drug and Human trafficking syndicates at both on shore/off shore in order to detect perpetrators and take appropriate measure;
(vi) Any other matter that would enhance the security arrangement of 2022 Hajj.