President Muhammadu Buhari has commended Nigerian pilgrims for behaving excellently during this year’s pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

The Chairman, National Hajj Commission (NAHCON), Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, made the president’s position known to State House correspondents after closed door meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday.

Mukhtar, who said he was in the Villa to brief the president on the outcome of 2018 Hajj which was recently concluded, revealed that Buhari was very happy with the outcome of the Hajj operation.

According to him, NAHCON will introduce Hajj Savings Scheme in order to enable more Muslim faithful to perform the pilgrimage.

“He (President Buhari) urged and directed that the commission should do everything humanly possible sustain the tempo and the successes recorded and also commence preparations for the 2019 Hajj in earnest.

“We should try to sustain the tempo of the successes recorded; I briefed Mr President about the turn out of the pilgrims and we all appreciate the reasons and what ought to be done in future to make sure that we fill up our quota.

“Part of the measures to be taken will be the introduction of the Hajj Saving Scheme programme which will enable pilgrims who want to pay over a long period of time to start paying by installments.

“All regulatory framework to ensure the success of the Hajj Saving Scheme will be put in place and government will do the needful for the take off of the scheme in due course.’’

He said that the main challenge faced by the commission had to do with medical fitness of some of the pilgrims.

The chairman said that in some states, people who were apparently aged were registered without being accompanied by relations to support them.

He said that NAHCON was not opposed to the registration of aged people but they should have an accompanying relation who should give them all the support needed to perform the hajj in the best manner.

“To address this, we are going to strengthen our education and enlightenment programme and also the medical screening aspect of it will be strengthened,’’ he said.

Mukhtar said that commission would consolidate on the gains recorded in collaboration with the national medical team to address the challenges.