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Hajj 2022: Lagos to refund intending pilgrims

Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi flanked by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic Affairs and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry. Photo: Omolara Omosanya

Following the reduction in the numbers of Nigerian pilgrims to this year’s Hajj by the Saudi Arabia authorities, the Lagos State Government says it will be publishing the names of affected intending Pilgrims in a National Newspaper as the first batch for the Year 2023 Hajj operations.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi made this known in Alausa Ikeja during a news briefing to update affected residents on the decision of the government

Explaining that even though 1,562 slots were allocated to the State by the National Hajj Commission, NAHCON, the Commissioner revealed that 1,598 pilgrims were airlifted, including those from approved private organisations in Lagos.

Prince Elegushi announced that moving forward, the State would put on hold sales of forms for the year 2023 Hajj pending confirmation of an actual number of slots to be given while the published names would be given the first offer of refusal.

“It is however regrettable to note that the 5000 slots promised were declined by the Saudi authorities thereby placing us in this precarious situation in which we find ourselves in Lagos State. 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”

The Commissioner said the refund process would be made seamless and quickly available for those intending pilgrims who wish to take such an option, and in case an intending pilgrim dies before it gets to his/her turn, a refund would be made to the next of kin after tending the necessary identifications.

He assured all intending pilgrims in Lagos of the state government’s support at all times and prayed for the safe return of the pilgrims already airlifted.

Since 2020, the Covid-19 Pandemic had hindered the airlifting of pilgrims, leading to the backlog of about four thousand intending pilgrims from Lagos State before the Saudi authorities gave the go-ahead for Hajj Pilgrimage this year

Reporting by Omolara Omosanya; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino