Hajj: FG, Saudi Arabia move to boycott screening of pilgrims

National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) has inaugurated a coordinating committee that will ensure smooth implementation of the Makkah Route Initiative (MRI) in Nigeria.

According to a statement by the Commission’s head of public affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, the initiative is a partnership between NAHCON, Nigerian and Saudi Arabian immigration departments to enable screening of Nigerian pilgrims by Saudi Arabian immigration in Nigeria before departing to Saudi Arabia.

Members of the committee were drawn from Nigerian Immigration Service, health sector, national security, aviation agencies and NAHCON.

Inaugurating the technical committee, NAHCON chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, said the assignment was a call to national service that “will assist Nigeria in qualifying for implementation of the MRI in Nigeria.”

 “The MRI is a Saudi based project that will ease immigration process and other security screening checks in Kingdom.

“Pilgrims from participating countries will not have to undergo another screening upon arrival in Saudi Arabia. Instead, they move straight into their waiting buses that will convey them to their hotels where their luggage will be awaiting them as well.

“This is because pilgrims’ luggage will be collected from them from their country’s point of screening.

“Five countries have already enrolled into the scheme, which Nigeria wishes to start on an experimental stage,” the statement read in part.

The committee is chaired by NAHCON’s commissioner of operations Alhaji Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa. Other members are Dr Fatima Muhammad Yusuf, Dodo Ahmad, Ibrahim Usman, Manu Mohammed, A.B Hausawa, Musa Bello, Nura Dankande, Dr Danbaba Haruna, Uztaz Muhammad Lamim and Barrister Usman Mamza, the Commission’s legal adviser.

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