2022 Hajj: 250 intending pilgrims from Lagos denied entry by Saudi Govt

Posted by News Express | 29 June 2022 | 650 times

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•Pilgrims boarding the plane

 

Lagos State government on Tuesday said a total of 250 intending pilgrims from the state will not be able to perform this year’s 2022 Hajj as their slots were eventually denied by the Saudi authorities, describing the development as regrettable.

The State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, said this at a press conference which took place at the Bagauda Kalto Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, disclosing that a total of 1,562 slots were allocated to the state by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) which were used up immediately by the state contingents.

According to the commissioner, the 250 intending pilgrims who were eventually denied from performing this year’s exercise came about based on NAHCON’s expectation of additional 5,000 slots promised by the Saudi Authorities, saying that the Saudi Authorities declined the 5,000 slots while the state government “has gone ahead to allocate the 250 slots awaiting final processing and visa from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

He, however, quickly noted that the state government was “aware that this matter affects every nation of the world that has intending pilgrims but the reactions and the need to make things clear have necessitated this address.”

This was just as he disclosed that the state government had over 4,000 intending pilgrims that had registered due to the fact that no airlifting of pilgrims had taken place 2020 as a result the Covid- 19 pandemic.

“I am here this afternoon to give you an update on the current Hajj operations being carried out by the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board and to address some of the issues that have been in the front burner in respect of the total number of pilgrims that will not be able to make this year’s Hajj.

 “You will recall that the Covid-19 pandemic did not allow any airlifting of pilgrims since 2020, this gave rise to an increase in the backlog of intending pilgrims since then.

“However, when the Saudi Arabia authorities gave the go ahead for pilgrims to be airlifted this year 2022, we had over 4,000 intending pilgrims that have registered with the state.

“A total number of 1,562 slots were allocated to Lagos State by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria {NAHCON} and these were used up immediately by the State contingent. A further 250 slots were given by NAHCON based on the expectation of additional 5,000 slots promised by the Saudi Authorities, unfortunately the Saudi Authorities declined the 5000 slots while we had gone ahead to allocate the 250 slots awaiting final processing and visa from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

 “It is, however, regrettable to note that the 5,000 slots promised were declined by the Saudi authorities thereby placing us in this precarious situation which we find ourselves in Lagos State,” Elegushi said.

 “We are aware that this matter affects every nation of the world that has intending pilgrims but the reactions and the need to make things clear have necessitated this address,” he added.

Meanwhile, the commissioner said the state government, while considering the plight of the affected intending pilgrims, decided, among others to publish the names of affected intending people in a national newspaper as the first batch for the Year 2023 Hajj operations, while it considered putting on hold sales of forms for the year 2023 Hajj pending confirmation of actual number of slots to be given, just as it also resolved to give the published names first offer of refusal.

Besides, the commissioner assured that the state government was resolved to make refund process seamless and quickly available for those intending pilgrims who wished to take such option and further assured intending pilgrims of the state government support at all times as he prayed for safe return of the pilgrims already airlifted.

“Moving forward, the state government has decided among others to do the following; Publish the names of affected intending pilgrims in a national newspaper as the first batch for Year 2023 Hajj operations.

“Put on hold sales of forms for year 2023 Hajj pending confirmation of actual number of slots to be given while giving the published names first offer of refusal.

“Make refund process seamless and quickly available for those intending pilgrims who wish to take such option, we also want to assure our intending pilgrims of the state government support at all times and pray for the safe return of the pilgrims already airlifted,” Elegushi stated.  (Nigerian Tribune)


Source: News Express

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