Abuja - The National Hajj Commission has said that intending female pilgrims for this year’s exercise must be accompanied by male guides.
Mr Uba Mana, the commission’s Head of Media, said in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja that the decision followed the embarrassment caused by last year’s deportation of female pilgrims.
"Last year’s ugly incidence was as a result of communication gap between the Hajj Commission and Saudi Ministry of Hajj.
"At the beginning of every year, Saudi authorities come up with rules and after which all participating countries sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
"Since February, we have sat down to examine the dos and don’ts of this year’s exercise and have signed the MoU.
"For this year, the position of the commission is that each female pilgrim must be accompanied by a male guide.
"According to Islamic injunctions, such male guide can be a brother, a son, an uncle or father," Mana said.
Mana also said that officials of states Muslim pilgrims boards and those of the National Hajj Commission are currently in Saudi Arabia inspecting accommodation facilities.
"The pre-Hajj inspection is to ensure that the benchmarks set by the commission are met," Mana added.
He said that in the last five years, the commission had maintained a clean record of airlifting pilgrims to and from the Holy land within the official time frame.
Mana commended domestic carriers for their cooperation by maintaining good standard.