NITDA, Hajj Institute of Nigeria, partner on digitizing hajj exercise

In an attempt to eliminate the bottlenecks associated with Hajj processes 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 on digitising its processes.

In a meeting at the NITDA Corporate Headquarters in Abuja yesterday, both NITDA and National Hajj Institute agreed that such a partnership between the two organisations would help in strengthening Hajj exercise in the country.

In his words, the NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa, described the establishment of the Institute as crucial to educate the intending pilgrims, and digitalisation of the processes would enhance smooth operations. He described the establishment of the Institute as timely for intending pilgrims need to be educated, adding that, “starting new as an institute is the right time for you to set your strategy, the kind of culture you want in place, the mindset and skillset you need to drive the institution.”

He said the partnership arrangement between NITDA and the Institute is a great opportunity as both organisations share the same ambition of digitizing services in the country and getting to use digital services.

“One of our objectives is the attainment of 95 percent digital literacy by all Nigerians in 2030, and also to help Nigerians be able to build all Digital Services we need in the country”.

Inuwa said, “The Saudi Arabia government is piloting the digitalization 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,” noting that it is not only about technology but it requires people and processes. He said, “you need to look at the processes, document and optimize 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, Professor Nasiru Muhammad Maiturare said the focus of his administration is to leverage on digital technology to provide services, particularly now that Hajj processes have now been digitized.

“The Saudi Arabian government has made it clear now that Hajj and Umrah operations henceforth will be driven by Information Technology, “in this regard, we feel that we need to seek the partnership and support of NITDA in order to drive this transformation of the Hajj industry, he said.”

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