The National Hajj Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led by its Chairman, Zikrullah Olakunle Hassan, paid the first ever courtesy call on the National Hajj Board of Ghana under the Chairmanship of Sheikh I.C. Quaye.
In his welcoming address, Chairman I.C. Quaye expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Hajj Board, Government and the people of Ghana, in particular the Muslim Umma, to the visiting Hajj Commission of Nigeria.
On the significance of such a visit, Sheikh I.C. Quaye says it could be the watershed of a good and transformative relationship between Ghana and Nigeria in so far as Hajj was concerned.
He commended the Government of Ghana for its generous support in subsidising hajj fares for the Ghanaian Muslim.
On his part, the Chairman of the Nigerian Hajj Commission, Sheikh Zikrullah Olakunle Hassan, thanked Sheikh I.C. Quaye and the Hajj Board for the warm reception accorded his team.
He spoke extensively on the operations of NAHCON as legislated in its Establishment Act, 2006.
Chairman Zikrullah was pleased to hear the involvement of the Government of Ghana in Hajj affairs by specifically subsidising Hajj for the Ghanaian pilgrim and supporting the Ulamaah (Clerics). This is unique, he observed.
According to the Chairman, even though Nigeria has a very strong Islamic or Muslim representation, Hajj is not subsidised by the Government of Nigeria.
Any form of Hajj assistance or support to Nigerian pilgrims emanates from the Hajj Commission through its operations and creative programmes and projects. Fees and charges are therefore included in the Hajj package for the provision of some services to pilgrims.
He said Hajj is beyond just rituals and therefore requires a professional team of innovators and thinkers across key fields to be able to deliver a well organised successful annual Hajj continually to the expectations of pilgrims as Islam requires.
In this regard, the Nigerian Hajj Commission is currently embarking on a public, private partnership (PPP) arrangements with private investors. The intention is to transform some of their assets into commercial ventures.
The commission is also planning to establish a Hajj Institute to train future skilled Hajj professionals in English speaking countries and called on the Ghana Hajj Board to get involved when the time comes.