In view of the important roles they play in ensuring the success of every Hajj exercise, an appeal has been made to government at different levels to increase the number of essential workers on the state’s sponsored Hajj team.
The appeal was made by the National Director of Initiative for Muslim Women Of Nigeria (IMWON), Rabi’ah Sufyan while fielding questions from newsmen in Kaduna.
She said that professionals rendering essential services like doctors should be state sponsored for Hajj ahead of politicians.
“Hajj is one of the Pillars of Islam. It deserves the support of government. Governors should also support those going for Hajj and try to sponsor more people.
“They should also not reduce the professionals they sponsor. More seats should be given to doctors, journalists and not using Hajj seats to settle politicians,” she said.
She commended Governor el-Rufai for his commitment to Hajj, praising him for not just being present during this year’s flag-off, but for boarding the aircraft to inspect it before take-off.
“It shows he cares about the welfare of the citizens. Particularly commendable is a follow up visit he paid on intending pilgrims awaiting airlift at the Hajj Camp in Mando,” she added.
IMWON Director while reacting to comments on rising costs of Hajj, said that if it is critically looked at, there is not much difference in cost now and looking back 20 or 30 years ago.
“The increasing cost is as a result of foreign exchange. If you look at it, you will realize it is virtually the same thing. Ask a Fulani man who went on Hajj 20 years ago how many cattle he sold to fare fares, he would tell you about four.
“Ask him how many he sold to embark again this year, he would still tell you about four. This shows that the same resources committed to Hajj 20 years ago is still being committed today,” she explained.
On what her organization does, she says they are always on ground to educate pilgrims on what to do for their Hajj to be successful.
“We go to Hajj Camp and lecture women on how to conduct themselves during Hajj. We also sponsor our staff to travel to the Holy Land to further guide and educate our pilgrims,” she added.