The House of Representatives on Thursday, directed its Committee on Pilgrims Affairs (when constituted) to conduct a thorough investigation marred by over 95,000 Nigerian pilgrims in the 2023 Hajj.

The directive was followed by a motion moved by Rep. Ahmed Idris during plenary.

According to Idris, “Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended) particularly Section 14(2) (b) provides thus:“the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.

He also said that a total of about Ninety Five thousand slots were allocated to Nigeria which was coordinated by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria(NAHCON) and pursuant to Section 4 it is charged with the mandate of providing effective and efficient Hajj and Umrah services to Nigerian pilgrims.

He said “This year’s Hajj recorded one of the largest turnouts in the history of Hajj with Al Jazeera and other International media putting the figure at about 2.5 million pilgrims.

“Nigerian Pilgrims were subjected to untold hardships during the Hajj exercise from the inability of some airlines (such as Arik) to lift pilgrims due to lack of aircraft; lack of adequate tent accommodation at Mina and Arafat.

“Substandard tents with unhealthy living conditions and environment; lack of proper medical attention to pilgrims in cases of emergency; lack of proper transportation logistics for Nigerian pilgrims; Nigerians being made to miss their flights due to stringent bottlenecks regarding withholding of their International Passports; inability to secure airport slots for Nigerian airline operators for lifting of Nigerian pilgrims from Saudi Arabia back to Nigeria and many others.

He furthered that over twenty-five thousand (25,000) Nigerian pilgrims (including those who paid for Tent A VIP Class) were reportedly got stranded at Mina due to inadequate tents and oversubscription leaving Nigerian Pilgrims Sleeping on the roads.

“Under bridges and nearby mosques there are cases of several public officials (such as present and former Governors, Senators and Hon. Members) who had no tent and were made to sleep in unhealthy places and conditions.

“Also disturbed that most Nigerian pilgrims were made to miss their flights and had to procure new tickets without justifiable cause due to disturbing bottlenecks placed by Hajj Service Centers (especially Service Centre No. 16) who withheld passports of pilgrims until a lengthy list of bottlenecks are fulfilled.

“Many Nigerian pilgrims did not get commensurate value for the high amount they paid for and are justly clamouring for a full refund for tent and feeding,” he added.

He further said that the Agency mandated to cater for Pilgrim Affairs (NAHCON) has not been proactive in ameliorating the plight of Nigerians during the 202 Hajj.

The House, after adopting the motion, directed its committee on Legislative compliance (when constituted) to ensure implementation and report back within four (4) weeks for further Legislative Action.

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