The Ekiti State Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Board has disqualified seven intending pilgrims to this year’s Hajj for failing a test.
The Chairman of the board, Alhaji Abdul Ganiyu Olowoyo, said the disqualified persons could not recite the Fathia, a basic portion of the Holy Qur’an that a practising Muslim should memorise for daily prayers.
Olowoyo, who spoke in Ado-Ekiti on Monday, also said his board had put in place measures to stop those who might want to go on pilgrimage for other reasons other than Hajj.
Those disqualified, according to the chairman, are to be given back their money.
He said the screening, which involved Islamic clerics and security agents from across the state, would end on Wednesday.
A total of 305 persons from the state are to take part in the exercise with the state government sponsoring 40. He said the House of Assembly was sponsoring 30, while each of the 16 local governments would sponsor two. According to him, only four local governments have so far paid for their intending pilgrims. He added that the remaining 12 might lose their slots if they did not pay before Wednesday.
Each pilgrim will pay N680,000 while the first batch is expected to be airlifted from Ilorin, Kwara, on Sept. 20.
He urged government to continue the sponsorship of pilgrimage, adding that only indigent persons should benefit.
“It was the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a Christian, that established the first pilgrims welfare board in the country. And he did that because he saw the incapacitation of some people who were really committed to fulfilling this religious obligation but could not because of lack of fund, ” he added.