The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has confirmed that Nigerian pilgrims will not be participating in this year’s Hajj, just as it directed states boards and private tour operators to grant requests of any pilgrim that demanded a refund of their fare.
NAHCON added that other intending pilgrims that wished to roll over their funds to next year, 2022, should also be granted that wish, considering the outbreak of Coronavirus that force the Saudi authorities to limit attendance.
The Commission, describing the new development as the will of almighty Allah, assures stakeholders including pilgrims of NAHCON’s open-door policy and cooperation to address whatever challenges that may arise after the cancellation.
NAHCON promises came hours after the Saudi Arabian government barred pilgrims from Nigeria and other foreign countries from participating in 2021 hajj and limited the number of pilgrims to take part in the religious rites to 60,000 worshippers with strict adherence to coronavirus.
The Chairman of NAHCON, Zikrullah Hassan, in a statement on Saturday, urged pilgrims and other stakeholders to wait for further advice and decisions by the board.
“As in the previous year, those pilgrims who request for refund of their Hajj deposits will be granted such without unnecessary delay. As for those who would still wish to roll over their funds, the Commission strongly urges them to wait for further advice and decisions by the board”.
Hassan, in a statement issued by Head, Public Affairs of the commission in Abuja, Fatima Usara, said that NAHCON respected the decision of Saudi Arabia in this regard no matter how painful that decision might be to the commission and intending pilgrims worldwide.
He said: “We have accepted it and believe it is Allah’s divine design that multitudes will again this year not perform the Hajj. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is only playing out a script ordained by our Maker long before the creation of the universe. Our prayer is that we collectively turn to Him in repentance so that He admits us for Hajj in the coming years.
According to him, the lessons from the 2020 and 2021 cancellations of Hajj for foreign pilgrims’ was in the “Prophet’s Hadith (teachings) urging Muslims to perform Hajj while they could before they are prevented from doing so.
He noted that it was only Allah that selects those who would be performing hajj, adding the resilience of Nigerian intending pilgrims and the support they have shown during the long and tortuous wait.
The chairman said he was particularly impressed and humbled by the level of support and respect evidenced by their adherence to each instruction given by the commission.