Oct 15, 2013

NATIONAL HAJJ COMMISSION OF NIGERIA (NAHCON)

NAHCON is an Act to repeal the Nigerian Pilgrims Commission Act Cap. 321, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and establish the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to be charged with the responsibility of licensing, regulating, performing over-sight, and undertaking supervisory functions over agencies and other bodies; and for related matters. According to Section 2 of the Act, the Commission shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its name
.

With the high number of Nigerians who go for religious pilgrimages every-year, the government plays a very important role in performing oversight functions to cater for the safety and well – being of Nigerians while on the Hajj, NAHCON serves as the government agency in charge of the above stated functions. There also exists a sister act in the Nigerian Pilgrim Commission Act with provides for the establishment of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, an agency formed for the oversight responsibility and supervisory functions of aiding Christian pilgrims who travel yearly for pilgrimage.

Available information suggests that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) would be airlifting 76,000 Nigerian pilgrims for the 2013 Hajj in 152 flights taking off from five different airports located in some cities across the country namely: Lagos, Katsina, Sokoto, Ilorin and Maiduguri. Although the commission’s chairman, Malam Mohammed Bello, has assured that all necessary steps have been taken to ensure a hitch-free Hajj this year.

The functions of NAHCON include-
(a) license, regulate, supervise and perform oversight functions over organisations,
associations (corporate or non-corporate) or similar bodies engaged in - organising and coordinating the movement of persons from Nigeria to
Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj or Umra; and providing accommodation, transportation and other services related tothe performance of the Hajj and Umra to pilgrims in Saudi Arabia;
(b) liaise and co-ordinate with the appropriate government authorities or organs of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the rules
and regulations governing entry into and staying in Saudi Arabia for the pur-
poses of Hajj and Umra including all appropriate immigration, passport and
related consular services;
(c) co-ordinate the provision of health, financial, security, customs, immigration
and related services to persons proceeding to, or returning from, Saudi Arabia
to perform the Hajj or Umra;
(d) ensure the establishment and management of pilgrims camps and related facilities,
equipment and such other necessary materials;
(e) establish and maintain an adequate information system and libraries of books
and other relevant publications as well as cinematograph and other facilities
for use by persons interested in or desirous of undertaking a pilgrimage, so
however that the library shall be opened to the public upon and subject to any
conditions the Commission may deem fit;
(f) establish and maintain a biometric data bank of all Nigerian intending pilgrims
for the Hajj and Umra;
(g) conduct educative and enlightenment campaigns on Hajj and Umra, in all the
States of the Federation, and the Federal Capital Territory;
(h) appoint such number of medical practitioners and medical staff as it deems fit;
(i) issue guidelines and rules that will ensure that States Pilgrims Welfare Agencies provide
appropriate welfare services and guides for pilgrims;
(j) do such other things as are conducive or incidental to the discharge of the
foregoing functions, provided that this subsection shall not be interpreted to be
conferring any additional functions on the Commission; and
(k) regulate and control in and/or outside Nigeria all matters concerning the welfare
of Nigerian pilgrims and to formulate policies in connection therewith.
The Commission is also empowered to establish such number of departments not exceeding five for the day to day running and execution of the policies of the Commission in general
and, in particular, take charge of the following Departments-
(a) Policy, Personnel Management and Finance;
(b) Operations, Inspectorate, and Licensing of Pilgrim Agencies; and
(c) Planning, Research, Statistics, and Information including publicity, and library services and each department mentioned above shall be headed by a full-time member of the Commission.

The commission is funded through -
(a) all such sums as may be charged by the Commission as fees, commissions or
dues for its services;
(b all revenue accruing to or vested in the Commission by way of grants-in-aid or
otherwise howsoever;
(c) any other money saved by the Commission; provided that, the Commission
shall not appropriate any monies belonging to the Hajj Saving Scheme, or borrowed pursuant to the provisions of this Act or any other enactment; and
(d) bequests, gifts and donations.

Adedunmade Onibokun
@adedunmade


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