The Chairman Edo State Muslims Pilgrim Board, Sheik Ibrahim Oyarekhua, has disclosed that 238 of the 400 intending pilgrims in Edo state will miss this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Sheik Ibrahim also disclosed that 162 intending pilgrims in the state would be airlifted on Saturday, July 2, to the holy land.
The cleric made the statement on Wednesday in an interview with Daily Trust in Benin, Edo State.
He said the 228 intending pilgrims will miss the Hajji due to a backlog from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sheik said, “162 intending pilgrims would be airlifted to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, July 2. All arrangements have been concluded. Everything is ready, we have distributed sensitive materials (passport and other materials needed for the journey) to them.
“By tomorrow, they will travel to Lagos and undergo COVID-19 test as required by Saudi authority and will leave the country on Saturday
He continued, ” We have 400 intending pilgrims who had made the payment but because of the backlog of 2020, 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 162 would be airlifted. The backlog has raised the number of intending pilgrims in the state.
“So, what we have deployed is that people would go in order of payment, those captured in 2020 would go first, then 2021 before 2022.”
He said they have made all the arrangements in terms of hotel accommodation and catering services among others.
“The acting governor was in the camp yesterday to address the pilgrims and admonish them to be of good behaviour while carrying out their activities in the holy land.
Sheik Ibrahim however advised the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the state and Nigeria by adhering to the rules and regulations of the pilgrimage.
“I urge you to pray for Nigeria and Edo State so that we can overcome challenges confronting us, especially insecurity among others. This journey is a spiritual assignment and you have to commit your selves to the almighty,” he said.