The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it has introduced new policy on accommodation in Madinah which allow pilgrims to spend only five days in the holy city.
The commission’s Deputy Director, Information and Publications, Malam Mousa Ubandawaki, made this known in a statement on Wednesday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Ubandawaki, who said that the policy would take effect on June 8, added that it became imperative following complaints of overcrowding of Nigerian pilgrims in the city of Madinah.
Ubandawaki said: “A new set of rules which will make it mandatory for pilgrims in Madinah to be moved to Makkah after five days stay in the second holiest city, will take effect from Thursday, June 8, 2023.
“It is important to note that for the first time in a long time, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) is giving 100 per cent of Nigerian pilgrims the opportunity to visit Madinah in the first phase or before Arafat.
“However, to achieve this and in order to avert sanctions against the country if there are pilgrims overcrowding in Madinah, the commission had to adopt the new policy, after wide consultations and exhaustive deliberation.”
Ubandawaki noted that it was a known fact that Nigerian pilgrims lived in the exclusive Markaziyya area during their stay in Madinah.
According to him, the decision has been overwhelmingly commended and the commission will stand fast by it.
“However, if the policy must be sustained, then the number of days our pilgrims must stay in Madinah have to be reduced. The Hajj pilgrimage is fast changing with new developments and realities, he said.
“If the commission must achieve the objectives of making the 2023 Hajj seamless and comfortable for our pilgrims, it is important to synchronise the transportation of pilgrims to the Holy land with the bed space available.
“So that the commission won’t be penalised for transporting more pilgrims into Madinah than the available accommodation, or be forced to take the pilgrims to other areas which are well below the standard of the current Markaziyya,” he said.