Friday, November 27, 2015


The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) paid a condolence visit to the Abuja office of the Association for Hajj and Umrah Operators of Nigeria (AHUON), on Thursday, 19th November, 2015, in relation to the pilgrims that ‘died in Saudi Arabia in the crush that happened at the peak of 2015 Hajj on Thursday 24th, September, 2015, as a result of millions of pilgrims heading to the same Jamarat site at the same time.’ AHUON lost many pilgrims in the incident including its Administrative Secretary, Southwest Zone, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Ademola Ajadi. 

AHUON has three operational zones - Lagos (Southwest), Abuja and Kano - to inspire a sense of camaraderie and competition for effectiveness and advancement of the industry. Lagos, I must say, even though I am from the Abuja zone, has been ahead of all zones in terms of organisation and commitment, followed by Kano and Abuja. We have witnessed this edge repeatedly in the way the office is handled, and how meetings with other zones are conducted under the aegis of the Lagos Zone of AHUON.

The success story of the Southwest zone was not unconnected with the relentless effort of late Alhaji Abdulganiyu Ademola Ajadi, who, since the commencement of his billet as Administrative Secretary in 2013, has proved to AHUON, even at the national level, that running a functional secretariat required selfless dedication more than mere office space and furniture. AHUON leaders were quick to spot this rare assiduity in Abdulganiyu that they sought for his assistance in the national secretariat of the Association during AHUON National Conference, which was held in May 2015.

In addition, late Abdulganiyu has left an indelible mark in the area of Hajj monitoring, an innovation of NAHCON in the form of a committee composed of members from the Commission and AHUON with the brief of assessing the standard of services offered to Nigerian pilgrims by Saudi service providers during the Hajj season. He participated creditably when the Hajj Monitoring Committee made its debut in 2014, where his input enriched greatly the report that the committee submitted to NAHCON. That credible participation necessitated his inclusion into the Hajj Monitoring Committee of Hajj 2015. It was in the process of fulfilling this duty, taking note at every point of the pilgrims’ movement, snapping pictures on Arafah, that he attained martyrdom on his way to Jamaraat in the Minaa crush. Doubtless, the notes he took and the pictures he snapped during Hajj 2015 will make significant impact on the final report of the Hajj Monitoring Committee.
NAHCON team arrived AHUON office at B11, Melita Plaza, Area 11, Garki, Abuja around 1:00pm led by Dr Saleh Okenwa, Commissioner, Planning, Research, Statistics, Information and Library Services (Com. RPISILS). Other members were Alhaji Suleiman Usman, Director Planned Research and Statistics, Alhaji Alidu Shutti, Head, Tour Operators Unit, Ibrahim Mahmud Visa Officer, and Yusuf Hameed Special Assistant to Com. RPISILS.

Alhaji Mohammed Lawal Adam, Vice President of AHUON, Abuja Zone, Salihu Abdullahi, Deputy President, Umrah, Abdul Malik Hassan, Financial Secretary, Ibrahim Balogun of Comerel Travels and yours truly, among other members received the team.

After a brief welcome address by the AHUON Vice President, Mohammed Lawal, Dr Saleh Okenwa said they were destined to visit AHOUN in its new office for the first time on a sad note; an aftermath of the Minaa tragedy. The Commissioner reflected on the successes garnered during the Hajj 2015 operations and hoped the sombre incident of the crush on Jamaraat would not overshadow them. 

He later presented two letters of condolence; the one to ‘The Family of Late Alh. Abdulganiyu Ajadi’, the second was to the AHUON President, commiserating with the Association on the sad bereavement, and praying Allah forgive and have mercy on the soul of the deceased. Thereafter, Dr Okenwa supplicated for the deceased and the bereaved.

In my vote of thanks, I commended NAHCON for the thoughtfulness and care embodied by the visit, not only to AHUON but also for similar condolence visits and messages that the Commission undertook to state governments that lost pilgrims in the Minaa crush. NAHCON, I averred, has shown leadership in the way it handled the situation under difficult circumstances in the holy territories; moving from one hospital to the other, from one mortuary to another, identifying bodies of Nigerian pilgrims, inspecting the treatment administered to the injured, obtaining death certificates and monitoring janaazah and burial of the dead.

I concluded by showing our gratitude to the team, and urged its members to convey our regards to the Chairman, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, and the Honourable Commissioner of Operations, Alhaji Abdullahi Modibbo, for their commitment to the cause of serving the guests of Allah, and providing the direction which led to the achievements that we saw during Hajj 2015, despite the challenges of the crush in Minaa.

O Allah! The Consoler of the aggrieved, the Caretaker of the bereaved; have mercy on the souls of those who died and take care of all they left behind. Forgive their sins and do not bring us into trial after them. Do not refuse us the reward thereof.

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