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Buhari’s Saudi Arabia Visit Brings Better Deal For Pilgrims

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it has received a better reception by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj after President Muhammadu Buhari’s state visit to the Kingdom.
The NAHCON Executive Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, disclosed this on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Mukhtar said that Nigerian pilgrims would enjoy a better deal this year due to the combined benefits of Buhari visit as well as efforts of the commission and other stakeholders.
NAN recalls that after completion of talks with the Saudi Arabian Government, Buhari directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NAHCON to negotiate with the Saudi Authority to resolve all outstanding issues relating to the 2015 Hajj.
Mukhtar, who said that the presidential order had been carried out thoroughly, described the Buhari’s state visits “as fruitful and a blessing to the commission”.
“NAHCON and Nigerians received a better reception by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj after Buhari’s visit and all the issues that the president directed for resolution had been addressed.
“The issue of the 35 missing pilgrims, whose DNA had been submitted to Saudi Government, three had been confirmed dead of which two are from Kano state and one from the FCT.
“Their state Pilgrim Boards have been notified and the death certificates had also been released to them for onward conveyance to the family members of the deceased.
“These are all good things that come out of the Presidential directive by the President which coincided with his own state visit.
“The Saudi government have also given assurance of easing the difficulties faced by pilgrims during their stay in Mina by bringing them closer to the Jamrat,’’ Mukhtar said.
He said that due to prediction that Hajj seasons would fall in hot weathers for some years, the Saudi Arabia government would improve the cooling system in the tents and extend it to the camps too.
“We have been appealing that there should be rotation of the accommodation so that we can be given accommodation closer to the Jamrat, the area which the symbolic stoning of the devil is being carried out.
“For the first time the Saudi Ministry of Hajj has accepted to look into that request and I believed that is also a takeaway from the Presidential state visit,” he added.
Similarly, the chairman said Saudi had promised to replace over 4,000 old buses in their fleet for 2016 operation with buses of 2008 generation upward.
He also said that the issue of compensation for the victims of crane collapse was in progress, assuring that “once we received the money we will notify the families of the victims accordingly’’. (NAN)

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