In a bid to enhance their respective Hajj operations, the Ghana Hajj Board and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NACOHN) recently held bilateral discussions in Mecca on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.
The meeting aimed to foster knowledge sharing and learn from each other’s experiences, as both countries conclude their 2023 Hajj operations with the successful repatriation of pilgrims.
The Ghanaian delegation, led by the Chairman of the Ghana Hajj Board, Ben Abdallah Banda, expressed the board’s admiration for the Nigeria Hajj Commission’s extensive experience.
Chairman Banda emphasized the importance of interaction and exchange of ideas between the two organizations to improve Hajj operations and services in their respective countries.
He stated, “Our purpose is to learn a lot from Nigeria, considering your experience and the number of pilgrims you manage. This is also a reciprocal visit since you called on my predecessor, Sheikh I. C. Quaye, in Ghana in 2021.”
Acknowledging the complexities of Hajj operations, Chairman Banda highlighted the significance of continuous improvement and expressed optimism that such meetings would address challenges faced during the process.
He provided insights into the history and role of Ghana’s Hajj Board in organizing Hajj operations within the country.
Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, Chairman of the Nigeria Hajj Commission, elaborated on the establishment and responsibilities of NACOHN.
He shared that NACOHN coordinates Africa’s largest Hajj operations, which ranks as the fifth largest in the world. Nigeria, with a contingent of nearly 100,000 pilgrims participating in this year’s Hajj, ranked fifth in terms of the number of pilgrims, trailing behind Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.
During the meeting, Chairman Hassan revealed various strategies and policies implemented by NACOHN and expressed the commission’s readiness to collaborate with the Ghana Hajj Board for improved operations. He also extended an invitation to the Ghana Hajj Board to visit Nigeria’s Hajj Institute, which offers training programs in Hajj Management.
Alhaji Abdulahi Hardawa, a senior executive of NACOHN, expressed delight at the meeting, highlighting the significance of the two leading African nations sharing ideas to enhance Hajj operations. He suggested the possibility of forming a Pan African Hajj Union, encompassing Ghana, Nigeria, and other countries in the sub-region. Such a union, he believed, would provide a stronger collective voice to negotiate for improved services.
Members of the Ghanaian delegation included board members Masaudu Osman, Abdul Aziz Haruna Futa, and Ahmed Abdulai Abu. Representing NACOHN were senior members, including some State Hajj Commissioners.
The meeting concluded on a positive note, with both parties expressing optimism about the outcomes of their collaboration and the potential for enhanced Hajj operations in the future. The exchange of ideas between the two African countries marks a significant step toward fostering cooperation and ensuring better services for pilgrims from the region and beyond.