Lagos State Government has disclosed its decision to refund intending pilgrims who were unable to make it to this year’s hajj, following the inability of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to secure proposed slots for them.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofi Elegushi, disclosed this while giving update on the current Hajj operations being carried out by the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.
He assured that the State Government would make the process seamless for intending pilgrims who wish to seek a refund.
He recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow airlifting of pilgrims since 2020, giving rise to an increase in backlog.
“When 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 of 1,562 slots were allocated to Lagos State by NAHCON and these were used up immediately by the State contingent.
“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 5,000 slots, meanwhile, we had allocated 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, thereby, placing us in this precarious situation, which we find ourselves in Lagos State,” he explained.
Elegushi therefore, disclosed the decision of the state government to publish the names of affected intending pilgrims in a national newspaper as the first batch for Year 2023 Hajj operations.
He also revealed that the state government had put on hold, sales of forms for 2023 Hajj, pending confirmation of actual number of slots to be given.
He also assured the intending pilgrims of the state government’s support at all times while he prayed for safe return of those already airlifted.