Nigerian Pilgrims, Others, Barred from Lesser Hajj


The Saudi Authorities on Sunday made a shocking announcement barring international pilgrims, including Nigerians, from the 2021 lesser hajj. While making the announcement via the state owned Saudi Press Agency, Haramain, the kingdom disclosed that it would allow only 60,000 pilgrims including its own citizens residing within the kingdom.
It would be recalled that Saudi Arabia allowed only 1,000 pilgrim for the same hajj in 2020 over fears of the ravaging covid-19 pandemic.
With the announcement, the Saudi Arabian authorities are shutting the kingdom’s doors against at least 10,000 of the 70,000 pilgrims that have already made deposits, in addition to taking the covid-19 vaccines, in readiness for this year’s hajj.
The ban, which is the second Nigeria and other global Muslim would have to endure due to the global pandemic, is coming after Saudi Arabia’s ministry of Hajj and Umurah insisted that before being considered for entry, all inending pilgrims must be free of any chronic diseases. That is, in addition to being within the age bracket of 18 and 65 and must have been inoculation with COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, which has already reacted to the cancelation as being one “…ordered by the Almighty Allah,” has assured intending pilgrims that their deposits would be refunded without delay.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Fatima Usara, NAHCON noted that Nigerian Muslims planning to embark on the pilgrimage would regard the ban a divine design being played out by Saudi Arabia.
“We have accepted that it is Allah’s divine design that multitudes will, again, not perform the Hajj, this year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is only playing out a script ordained by our Maker…Our prayer is that we collectively turn to Him in repentance so that He admits us for Hajj in the coming years. One of the lessons from these two years’ cancellations is in the Prophet’s hadith…,” the statement read in part.

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