The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has banned Family and Tours, a private tour operator, from participating in Hajj and Umrah activities for contravening the commission’s regulation governing Hajj and Umrah operations.
The Commission’s Head of Media Unit, Mrs Fatima Mustapha, made the disclosure in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
She explained that the sanction was because Family and Tours, aided the overstay of 96 of its pilgrims in Saudi Arabia during the 2017 Hajj operation, which contravened the regulations governing Hajj and Umrah operations.
The head of media said that the commission would henceforth begin to enforce and prosecute any surety whose ward, guardian and pilgrims fail to return home after the Hajj and Umrah exercise.
She, however, advised State Pilgrims Welfare Boards, agencies and commissions, to properly educate pilgrims on the implications of overstaying or absconding in Saudi Arabia during hajj or Umrah operations.
Mustapha also stressed the need for the state pilgrims boards to intensify pilgrims orientation and enlightenment, saying ”make sure you stand as guarantors for only genuine pilgrims that would surely come back.
“The commission would henceforth begin to enforce and prosecute any surety whose pilgrims fail to return home after the Hajj and Umrah operations,” she said.
Similarly, she said that only five pilgrims from Gombe, Zamfara, Plateau and Jigawa absconded during the 2017 Hajj, as against the reported 900 and urged public to disregard such reports.
“The commission wishes to make some clarification as regards the number of pilgrims reported to have absconded or overstayed during the 2017 Hajj exercise.
“We hereby, state that only five pilgrims as against the reported 900 actually absconded during the exercise.
“The five pilgrims were one from Gombe, one from Zamfara, two from Plateau and one from Jigawa states.”