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COVID: FCT Moslem Pilgrims Board suspends 2021 pilgrimage

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Cyril Mbah, Abuja.

Federal Capital Territory Moslem Pilgrims Board has suspended indefinitely preparations for this year’s pilgrimage and cancelled the 2021 planned trip by pilgrims to Mecca and Medina.
The board has already started refunding deposits made by more than 1000 intending pilgrims following the cancellation of trips by foreigners to Saudi Arabia over renewed wave of new variants of COVID-19.

Director of the board, Mallam Mohammed Nasir Dan-Mallam, disclosed to newsmen that the pilgrimage will not be possible again until Saudi Arabia lifts the ban on foreigners’ entry into the country.
Dan-mallam stated that before the cancellation, 1,714 intending pilgrims who made a total deposit of more than N850 million were registered.

Out of this number, he explained, 334 disappointed pilgrims requested for a refund of their money and the board paid them a total of N432 million as at September 10, 2021. More payments are expected to take place between now and the end of the year.

The intending pilgrims were earlier directed to deposit a minimum of N1.5million to enable them perform the hajj operations before the fresh outbreak of COVID was announced by Saudi Arabia, he said.
“The board advised those who deposited below the minimum amount to migrate from the accustomed method of payment for hajj seat to Hajj Savings Scheme initiated by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to enable intending pilgrims pay for hajj at their own convenience.

“The saving scheme gives them a better chance of gradually completing their payments for seats and participating in future hajj operations,” the director said.
He assured that depositors who have attained the minimum level of N1.5 million required, will be given first consideration in the 2022 hajj operation when Saudi Arabian authorities permit entry into their country.

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