BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has charged newly confirmed members of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) board to put smiles on pilgrims’ faces by reducing the huge cost associated with partaking in annual Hajj rites.

He said it is important for the members “to hit the ground running” in addressing the biting cost implications on pilgrims as well as ensure the success of this year’s exercise.

Senator Lawan gave the charge on Thursday following the upper legislative chamber’s confirmation of nominees appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to serve on the NAHCON board.

According to him, “they have no time to waste”, adding; “We are praying that the Commission is able to do that because the cost of Hajj fare has been on the high side, and therefore, we are praying that this year’s Hajj will be cheaper than previous rates.”

“Let me also congratulate those who are being confirmed. The Hajj Commission is waiting for them to kick-start the process of this year’s Hajj”, the Senate President said.

The nominees were confirmed after the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Senator Lawan had on December 3, 2019, read a request from President Muhammadu Buhari requesting the Senate to confirm the appointment of Chairman and Members of NAHCON. The request was contained in a letter dated November 28, 2019.

Names of appointees confirmed on Thursday, January 30, 2020, by the Senate are: Zikrullah Olakunke Hassan – Chairman, Osun State, South West; Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa, Executive Commissioner – Operation, Inspection and Licensing; Nura Hassan Yakassai, Executive Commissioner – Policy, Personnel, Management and Finance, Kano State, North West, and Sheikh Momoh Suleman Imonikhe, Executive Commissioner – Planning, Research, Statistics, Information and Library, Edo State, South South.

Part-time Members are: Halimat Jibril, Niger State, North Central; Abba Jato, Borno State, North East; Garba Umar, Sokoto State, North West; Ibrahim Ogbonnia Amah, Ebonyi State, South East; Sadiq Oniyesaneyene Musa, Delta State, South South; and Akintunde Basirat Olayinka, Ogun State, South West.

Also on the board are Representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs): Shehu Dogo, Ministry of Aviation; Nura Abba Rimi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Rabi Bello Isa, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Zainab Ujudud Sherrif, Ministry of Health; Aminu Bako Yarima, Nigeria Immigration Service, and Ibrahim Ishaq Nuhu, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Others listed on the new board include: Dr. Bala Muhammad, Representative of Jama’atul Nasril Islam; and Yusuf Chinedozi Nwoha, Representative of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).

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