By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Federal Government has announced its commitment to support institutions like the newly established Hajj Institute of Nigeria whose programmes were in tune with the strategic objectives of the administration.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SFG), Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the assurance at the matriculation of the pioneer students of the institute at the Hajj House on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mustapha said that the establishment of the institute was relevant to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which has a vision of sustained inclusive growth and structural economic transformation.
He said that the launching of the institute established by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), and subsequent commencement of certificate programmes would provide a platform for the institute to continue to grow and improve its activities.
“Our emphasis is focused on improving both public and private sector efficiency, increased national productivity and maximum welfare for Nigerians,” Mustapha said.
He expressed optimism that the institute would inject professionalism into the Nigerian hajj and umrah sector and create skilled manpower as well as jobs for the youth.
“This is a core goal of the ERGP of job creation, youth empowerment and improved human capital.
“Today marks the launch of the first Professional Certificate programme of the HIN, a programme that is designed to enhance the capacity of Nigeria’s hajj officials.
”It will also fill the skills gap in the economy and ensure the effective management of our annual pilgrimage to the holy land.
“This is a critical step toward ensuring that our hajj operations are at par with international best practices, and our pilgrims receive the highest quality of services during their journey,” Mustapha said.
Earlier, FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, who was the pioneer Chairman of NAHCON, said that hajj could never be done without knowledge, adding that hajj had developed more than what it used to be.
According to Bello, hajj is a very important economic activity, therefore, key players in the industry must be properly trained and educated to be able to discharge their responsibilities effectively.
Also, the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Bugaje, said the inauguration of the institute was a very timely and well-thought-out move which would surely improve service delivery in hajj operations in the coming years.
Bugaje said that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, granted the Hajj Institute of Nigeria approval, effective March 9, 2022.
He said that the Institute would operate as an innovation enterprise institution offering National Innovation Diploma (NID) in Hospitality and Tourism Studies, Computer Studies and other related courses.
According to him, the institute is expected to sponsor the development of National Innovation Diploma (NID) Curriculum in hajj operations as it relates directly to the mandate of NAHCON.
” Similarly, the institute may also register with some relevant Awarding Bodies to conduct National Skills Qualification (NSQ) in various areas of interest.
” This is a major step in professionalising hajj operations and development of relevant skills needed to deliver smooth Hajj operations.
” It will therefore not be out of place if the institute looks into training in diverse fields that would strengthen the hajj institution.
”The institute should also conduct research into the past, present and future hajj operations,” Bugaje said.
He assured the readiness of the NBTE to collaborate with the institute to develop more curricula relevant to the hajj operations as well as National Occupational Standards for skills training on hajj management.
On his part, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, said the objective of establishing the institute was to professionalise hajj activities in the country.
“Over a decade ago, there was a general concern among the Nigerian Muslim community that hajj has become an all-comers affair where anyone ventures into irrespective of his or her educational background.
“Therefore, the leadership of NAHCON initiated a process aimed at professionalising the industry; which I was part of.
“Little did I know that I would be in the driver’s seat when that project finally takes off.
“I pray that it will have a positive impact on the hajj and umrah sector in Nigeria and beyond and be one of the legacies this board will bequeath to the Nigerian public and the world, in general,” Hassan said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo/Bashir Rabe Mani