The Ogun State Government on Monday said any of its intending pilgrims for the 2013 hajj exercise discovered to be grappling with health challenges would be exempted from performing the exercise.
The Chairman of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Isiaq Yusuf, made the declaration during the commencement of the five-day inoculation/medical screening exercise for intending pilgrims in Abeokuta.
He explained that the step is an adherence to the directives of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON.
Mr. Yusuf, represented by a member of the board, Abidoye Amosun, said that the screening exercise remain an important prerequisite for intending pilgrims to guide medical personnel during the pilgrimage, noting that the 20 per cent global reduction of pilgrims’ directive from the Saudi Arabian authorities had necessitated the drop in allocation of slots to Nigeria from 99,000 to 70,000.He stressed that this development was responsible for the board’s painful but necessary decision to delist 303 out of the 1,505 initially allocated to the State by NAHCON.
“Though it has been a tough decision to delist pilgrims, but this has to be done in order to avert any major catastrophe during the Hajj exercise, due to ongoing construction around the Holy Khabba and the City of Mecca. Also any pilgrim discovered to be affected with high blood pressure or any critical symptom that could be of risk to him will also be barred from embarking on the exercise,” he said.
He enjoined those affected by the development to take in good faith and uphold their beliefs in Allah’s teachings and Islamic tenets on destiny.
Reacting after the screening, an intending pilgrim, Lawal Ibrahim, expressed satisfaction with the process, describing it as a fair and hassle free exercise worthy of emulation nationwide.