THE Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of National Hajj Commission, (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Olakunle Hassan on Thursday assumed office with a pledge to make the commission a global brand.

Taking over from Acting Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, Hassan said “the journey to lofty heights will not be completed until we find a better way to ensure that our pilgrims would not have to wait and spend long days in Saudi Arabia or boarding the aircraft.”

The NAHCON chief thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment.

“Today, I stand before you to make a solemn pledge to continue the never-ending journey to improve, elevate and uplift the Hajj administration… At this juncture, I must pay glowing tributes to the founding fathers, whose labour and brow sweat formed the rock on which the foundation of this commission was laid in 2006 when the enabling law establishing NAHCON was passed,” he said.

Hassan promised he would make staff welfare the anchor of his policies.

According to him, no one had a greater stake in a viable and prosperous future of NAHCON than the workers.

“Therefore, let us each of us embrace the solemn duty to contribute our energy to drive the management policy thrust. I want to pledge our commitment to your welfare by giving you your rights and privilege without discrimination or bias.

“In this connection, we intend to pursue the upscale capacity building and skill acquisition through training and retraining of every category of staff to new trends and development in Hajj and ensuring the take-off of the long-awaited International Hajj Training Institute.”

Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) has described Hassan’s appointment as a square peg in a square hole going by his achievements as the helmsman of Osun State Muslim Pilgrims Board for eight years.

MMPN’s National President Abdur-Rahman Balogun, in a message to the NAHCON chairman, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing a Muslim from the Southwest to head the commission.

He urged the NAHCON chief to see how fares could be reduced, so all who desire to perform Hajj, can.