About 65,000 Nigerians participated in the annual Islamic ritual.

Nigeria’s participation in this year’s hajj exercise has been described as successful by the country’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Muhammadu Dodo.

Mr Dodo, a retired judge, commended the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), for supervising the exercise.

The ambassador was speaking Thursday evening at the post-Arafat stakeholders meeting organised by NAHCON in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

The meeting was convoked to review the Hajj activities and plan the return journey of pilgrims to Nigeria.

About 65,000 Nigerian pilgrims performed this year’s hajj, out of which 45,000 came in through state pilgrims’ boards while the remaining 20,000 came to the kingdom through licensed tour operators.

Mr Dodo urged NAHCON to consolidate on the successes recorded in this Hajj.

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He advised all Hajj stakeholders to continue to dedicate themselves to the services of the pilgrims.

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The envoy prayed that all Nigerian pilgrims will return back to Nigeria to meet their loved ones.

Innovations

In his speech, NAHCON’s acting chairperson, Abdullahi Mohammed, said some of the innovations introduced by the commission have paid off.

He said Nigerian pilgrims were successfully transported from key places during the days of the hajj rites within a record time.

He commended state boards and private tour operators for their cooperation with the commission in coordinating the exercise.

He said planning is in earnest for the return journey, cautioning, however, that technical problems on the part of the airlines can affect the planned movements.

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“However, where we have such unexpected problems, we insist that pilgrims are properly accommodated pending when such issues are resolved,” he explained.

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