The Lagos State Government has barred all Lagosians who have gone on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia before from embarking on the current exercise.
The government said it will only accept and consider applications from only fresh intending pilgrims, who had never performed Hajj rite before, to participate in this year’s holy pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.
A statement from the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, added that government took the decision following the order by the National Hajj Commission, NAHCON, that each state should cut the earlier Hajj quota given to them by 20 percent.
The Executive Secretary of the board, Mr. Sanusi Adewale, who stated this after an emergency meeting held with NAHCON and other states Pilgrims Board in Abuja, stated that the action is sequel to the directive to State Pilgrims Board to scale down the number of intending pilgrims for this year’s hajj by 20%.
He said that the directive also followed an earlier one given by the Saudi Arabia government about a global reduction of 20% of intending pilgrims to the country later this year.
Adewale stressed that the reduction affects all countries participating in this year’s Hajj, while he announced closure of payment for applicants for the Hajj.
Following Saudi Arabia’s decision that countries should cut their quotas by 20 percent, the state government had earlier this year said it would give 80 percent of hajj slots to intending pilgrims who had never gone on hajj before, while reserving 20 percent for those who had embarked on the journey before.
The government was made to now issue 100 percent slots to first timers as its quotas had been cut drastically.
Last year, at least 3,850 pilgrims from Lagos state went on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, but this year, the figure is expected to drop drastically following the 20 percent cut in its quota.