After 24 months of suspension from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a result of Covid-19 induced restrictions, Nigeria has regained its slot ahead othe of the 2023 Holy pilgrimage.
Assistant Director, Information and Publications, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Mousa Ubandawaki, revealed this through a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
Recall that the holy pilgrimage to the city of Mecca was suspended to international travelers in 2020 and 2021 while that of 2022 was reduced by half.
While international pilgrims were not allowed to perform Hajj in both 2020 and 2021, Nigeria had an allocation of 95,000 slots before the outbreak of Covid-19.
Mousa disclosed that the good news was made known by the Director-General in charge of Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Missions at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Bahauddeen bin Yusuf Alwani.
Mousa said, “The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has granted Nigeria its usual allocation of 95,000 slots in 2023 holy pilgrimage.
“The hopes of many prospective Nigeria pilgrims to perform the 2023 Hajj may have been answered as the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has approved the pre-COVID-19 allocation NAHCON.
“Other guidelines released for the 2023 Hajj by the Ministry included the removal of age barrier or limit and cancellation of PCR Test for the Hajj.”
He, however revealed that “any form of payment must be through the e-track or e-wallet platforms as the Kingdom will not take responsibilities for payment outside the two platforms.
“All accommodation agreements are to be concluded by the 10th of February (Sha’aban) and others by the 24th January (Rajab).”
Mousa added that the Saudi Hajj Ministry has granted the commission the right of choice of package for pilgrims’ services from the Mutawwiffs of African Non-Arab countries.
He further revealed that information on the choice of airlines approved by the Commission for the airlift operations and their allocation must be submitted early to fast-track the 2023 Hajj preparation.