The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has disclosed that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, failed to yield to its demand for an increment in the number of slots for this year’s Hajj exercise.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the authorities allotted 43,008 slots to Nigeria, against 95,000 slots given to the country in 2020.
But some private tour operators had alleged lopsidedness in the allocation of the slots by NAHCON, lamenting that the development would incur a loss to the companies.
A statement by the NAHCON’s Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda-Usara, said the NAHCON’s Commissioner of Operations, Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa led a delegation to actualize the offer but to no avail.
According to the statement, the visit became necessary in order to lessen Private Tour Operators’ genuine outcry over shortfall in number of slots.
“It was also targeted at managing pressure of other Nigerians desperate to be participants in the season’s pilgrimage,” the statement added.
The commission, therefore, solicited the understanding of the aggrieved tour operators, admonishing them to accept it as “the will of The Almighty and look forward to next opportunity if God spares our lives”.
“The Commission has done its best but the Almighty has decided the rest. Indeed, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, the NAHCON Chairman and other NAHCON management members, did their possible best to make sure that slots were distributed equitably.
“It was however clear right from the start that not everyone who is qualified would make it to this year’s Hajj due to the relative low number of allocated slots.
“NAHCON management is consoled because it did not ostracize any group in the distribution of available Hajj seats, but of course, not all would be successful, because, the Commission was working within the boundaries of what was available.
“Yet, management understands the frustration of many who were desperate to participate in this year’s pilgrimage after two years of blockade. As people of faith we should remember that Hajj is a divine call that one would answer at the destined time; no matter one’s wealth, health status, age or free time.
“NAHCON assures those unable to proceed for the Hajj that their Hajj fare deposits are untouched and safe. Thus, the Commission will order release of their monies to them without delay should they request for a refund. If they decide otherwise, they should be rest assured that they will not be short-changed in anyway,” the statement noted.