The FCT Pilgrims Welfare Board has expressed willingness to partner with the Independent Hajj Reporters, IHR, on manpower training to enhance the quality of services rendered to the pilgrims.
Director of the board, Nasiru Danmallam, gave the assurance when the executive members of IHR paid a courtesy visit to the board on Thursday in Abuja.
The IHR delegation was led by the body’s National Coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammad.
Mr Danmallam said that training and retraining of staff was a priority to the board, pointing out that the board could only deliver on its mandate if it had well trained personnel.
He disclosed that he had inherited a formidable workforce “who are still around and ready to work hard to conduct successful Hajj operation in 2021”.
The director noted that FCT was the epiccentre of pilgrimage in Nigeria due to the high profile pilgrims that perform Hajj through the territory.
“Most pilgrims in FCT are people who know their left and right; people who know what is due to them and always ask what is due to them.
“FCT pilgrims welfare board has recorded enormous achievements owing to commitment and hard work. We hope to build on that by the special grace of God.
“In fact, training and retraining of staff is our priority because if we don’t have a well trained staff, there is no how we can deliver effective services to the pilgrimage.
“On behalf of my management, we welcome the idea of partnering with the Hajj reporters on manpower training of our personnel. We look forward to your submission on that,” Danmallam said.
The director described Hajj reporters as critical stakeholders on Hajj and Umrah exercises in the country.
“Since my coming here, IHR is the only NGO that is a critical stakeholder on Hajj industry in Nigeria that I have met.
“So, you represent a critical mass in the coverage of Hajj activities in Nigeria because, for me, you are the only one I know.
“I will consolidate on the existing relationship that you have established with the previous leadership of the board,” he assured.
Earlier, Muhammad had reiterated the commitment of the NGO to partner with the board and stakeholders in the area of pilgrims enlightenment and education.
He said that Hajj operations as known before would not, and may never, remain the same again due to COVID-19.
“While the Manasik of Hajj will hardly be altered, the operating system in terms of arrangement, movement, accommodation, protocol and guidelines will be restructured, especially if we consider the Hajj 2020 template used by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“Given the above, it is imperative for us to seek a partnership with the FCT pilgrims’ board to enlighten and educate Hajj 2021 intending pilgrims and to organise a capacity building workshop for its operating staff.”
He said that the board should engage in capacity building for its staff via training and retraining to keep them in tune with emerging challenges in Hajj operations.
“The board must develop an information communication technology-based capacity because Saudi Arabia conducts the entire Hajj activities online,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that IHR is a registered non-governmental organisation that monitors and reports Hajj activities both in Nigeria and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
IHR comprises of Muslim journalists who seek to enlighten Nigerian pilgrims on how to perform acceptable Hajj which is the most important pillar of Islam.