Chairman/Chief Executive Officer National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan has called for collaboration between the commission and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in facilitating the implementation of the Makkah Route Project, which would enable Nigerian pilgrims to be screened from Nigerian airports by Saudi immigration personnel and other relevant security agencies.
The NAHCON CEO stated this when he received FANN Managing Director, Capt Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
Alhaji Hassan said the project was initiated by Saudi Arabia to facilitate easy movement of Muslim pilgrims from all over the world through ensuring that all immigration requirements are fulfilled at the airport of origin. He said: “If implemented, the Makkah route project will enable the screening of our pilgrims from here in Nigeria and when they arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they will simply walk straight to their buses and transported to their hotels. This will ease the screening and waiting time at the Kingdom’s airports, just like flying from Kano to Katsina.”
Alhaji Hassan said that request for Nigeria to be included in the initiative was first made by NAHCON’s third board in December 2018. The new board now plans to actualize its take-off. “We may start testing with one airport and expand to others in due time.”
In his response, FAAN MD, Capt Yadudu expressed delight with the development and reassured the agency’s readiness to partner with NAHCON in ensuring that the Nigerian pilgrims get to enjoy this service. “The Makkah road project will improve our services as long as the project is implemented according to global practices,” he stated.
He also assured NAHCON CEO on professionalism at all times, saying: “Any issue coming from FAAN will be professionally taken based on the rules and regulations laid down by the aviation industry”.
Yadudu also informed NAHCON chairman that FAAN has one of the best professional equipment and facilities in West Africa and that its personnel are in conformity with the standardised operations in the whole world.