The distress of Nigerian pilgrims

The Nigerien people were shocked yesterday by the loop on social networks of the demonstration of Nigerien pilgrims, who were demonstrating in Mecca at the COHO headquarters.

These poor pilgrims no longer know which saint to turn to, so uncertain are they about the return.

Indeed, after painfully performing the rites of hajj in extreme conditions, Nigerien pilgrims are still waiting for an official return program.

However, for more than a week, the COHO has published an official press release announcing the return, but only two aircraft manufacturers, namely Ethiopian airlines and the Saudis have given their program.

The lords of Max Air who benefited from the jackpot of the 15,000 Nigerian pilgrims are still waiting. There is no official press release announcing the start of the operation to return pilgrims sent to the holy places by this company.

As usual, it is the dilatory which prevails at the level of this company. We talk about lack of slot, tuti quanti, we accuse the Saudi authorities, while everyone knows the truth.

Let’s not be afraid to say it, Max air is incapable of honoring its commitments.
And yet, each year, we renew the contract with this company, because there are big bucks at stake. The Nigerian pilgrims are sacrificed for sordid interests.

Enough is enough. The masquerade has gone on long enough, it’s time for a change.
Let’s not lose sight of it, the hajj is the 5th pillar of Islam. Every year, thousands of Nigerians sacrifice themselves to perform this rite. Unfortunately, compatriots eager for easy earnings monopolize the organization of the hajj and do everything as they please.

This year, we reach the climax, with the shocking and degrading image of Nigerian pilgrims thrown under a bridge, under the stars, without water or food.
These poor pilgrims had paid for everything and yet they were neglected and abandoned.

The COHO supposed to be the nerve center of the organization of the hajj in our country is now outdated. It is necessary either to dissolve this institution, or to reorganize it completely so that it is really at the service of the pilgrims.

It is absurd to note that countries where Muslims are not even in the majority have structures better suited than us to organize the hajj.

The state and in particular the presidency of the republic must be fully involved in the organization and put an end to the mess.

In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, the Ivorian government has even built a 5-star hotel in Mecca to accommodate Ivorian pilgrims. In this country, certain chains of expenses, such as the stay in minah and the food of the pilgrims are also taken care of.
In Niger, we can draw inspiration from it, all you need is political will.

It’s time to act.

By Ibrahim Aghali (Web Contributor)

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