Nigeria accepts Saudi’s ban on foreign pilgrims

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has urged Muslims to regard the cancellation of the 2021 Hajj for foreign pilgrims over COVID-19 pandemic as the wish of Allah.

The Commission’s head, public affairs Fatima Sanda Usara, Head, Public Affairs, in a statement on Saturday on behalf of  Chairman/CEO of  NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan said the Commission “respects the decision of Saudi Arabia in this regard no matter how painful that decision may be to us and to intending pilgrims worldwide.”

She added that “the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan commends the resilience of Nigerian intending pilgrims and the support they have shown in this long and tortuous wait. The Chairman is particularly impressed and humbled by the level of support and respect displayed by, evidenced by their adherence to each instruction given by the Commission.”

The statement reads: “The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has received news of the cancellation of Hajj for international pilgrims for the 2021 season. The Commission’s officials in Saudi Arabia have confirmed that state television and radio stations in the Kingdom have announced the news.

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“NAHCON respects the decision of Saudi Arabia in this regard no matter how painful that decision may be to us and to intending pilgrims worldwide. We have accepted that 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 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.

“One of the lessons from these two years’ cancellations of Hajj for foreign pilgrims’ is in the Prophet’s hadith urging Muslims to perform Hajj while they can before they are prevented from doing so. Again, it impresses on us that it is only Allah that selects those who will be His guests for Hajj. May we not be deprived of Allah’s mercy. May we be among those who will be chosen to perform Allah’s worship in future.

“At this juncture, the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan commends the resilience of Nigerian intending pilgrims and the support they have shown in this long and tortuous wait. The Chairman is particularly impressed and humbled by the level of support and respect displayed by, evidenced by their adherence to each instruction given by the Commission.

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“An example is the total compliance in receiving Covid-19 jab with the hope of performing the 2021 Hajj. Equally, the Commission appreciates cooperation of States’ Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards in its decision-making processes.

“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.

“Finally the Chairman assures stakeholders of NAHCON’s open door policy and cooperation. Consultations will be held with all Hajj managers on the way forward in the nearest future. This will be communicated to them in due course.”