To eliminate the bottlenecks associated with the Hajj process in Nigeria, the newly established Hajj Institute of Nigeria (HIN) – an institution under the supervision of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) – has indicated interest to partner with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to digitise its processes.
In a meeting at the NITDA corporate headquarters in Abuja yesterday, both bodies agreed that such a partnership would strengthen the process for the hajj exercise in the country.
The NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi described the establishment of the institute as crucial to educate intending pilgrims and that digitalising the processes would enhance smooth operations. He described the establishment of the institute as timely for intending pilgrims who need to be educated.
“Starting new as an institute is a right time for you to set your strategy, culture, mindset and skillset you need to drive the institution.”
He said the partnership is a great opportunity, as both organisations share the same ambition of digitising services in the country and getting to use digital services.
“One of our objectives is the attainment of the 95 per cent digital literacy by all Nigerians in 2030. This can help Nigerians build all digital services we need in the country.
“The Saudi Arabian government is piloting the digitalisation process with Africa. I learned they want to start with Nigeria because Nigeria is one of the largest markets they have.”
While commenting on the digital transformation agenda of the government, the NITDA boss described it as a “journey” and noted that it is not only about technology but requires people and processes. “You need to look at the processes, document and optimise them before you can say you have achieved digitisation.”
He assured the institute that NITDA would work with it to design programmes in local languages and put them online for people to register, join and learn at their own pace. He advised the institute to initiate a saving scheme where people can save for pilgrimage.
Earlier, the rector of the institute, Prof. Nasiru Maiturare said the focus of his administration is to leverage digital technology to provide services, particularly now that the hajj processes have become digitalised.
“The Saudi Arabian government has made it clear that, henceforth, hajj and umrah operations will be driven by information technology. “In this regard, we feel that we need to seek the partnership and support of NITDA to drive this transformation of the hajj industry,” he added.