The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) received the pleasant news of the uplifting of direct travel ban into Saudi Arabia effective from the 5th of March 2022. This came via a circular released by General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA). In addition, a near total cancellation of covid-19 restrictions were announcedindicative of a return to regularity. The only requirement for entry into the Kingdom is full vaccination with the accompanying registration on Tawakkalna and Eatmarna apps as gateway. Accordingly, intending pilgrims for Umrah from Nigeria and other similarly banned countries are permitted to travel directly into Saudi Arabia so long they fulfil the mandatory vaccines requirement.

As a result, the NAHCON Chairman, AlhajiZikrullah Kunle Hassan, rejoices with multitudes of Muslims all over the world, Nigeria in particular, forthe normalization of worship in the two Holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah. Indeed, it has been two years of agonizing deprivation for those to whom Saudi Arabia is not just a home of worship butalso a means of livelihood. Alhaji Hassan however appreciates the fact that Saudi Arabia’ s decisions on matters of Hajj and Umrah have always been in the interest of the Muslim world and the generality of humanity, no matter how difficult the decision might seem.

Hence, while giving gratitude to the Almighty, the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, humbly commends the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, Khadimal Haramain, His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, for this brave move to the Muslim ummah despite the pandemic challenges.

Consequently, with the heightened hope that international Hajj would be open in the 2022, NAHCON is seizing this opportunity to inform the public that guidelines for participation in the Hajj shall be communicated to Nigerian intending pilgrims after signing of the MoU between NAHCON and the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

However, the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Kunle Hassan repeats his counsel to Nigerian intending pilgrims to be law abiding whenever they travel out of the country for Hajj or Umrah. Though Nigerian intending pilgrims’ response to covid-19 vaccination was impressive, yet anyone wishing to embark on Hajj and Umrah is to remember that full vaccination is required as a safety precaution for himself and residents of Saudi Arabia as well as fellow Muslim travelers to the holy land for worship. They are thus reminded that unmet vaccine requirement may lead to quarantine and or other penalties.

Intending pilgrims are also reminded to desist from travelling with prohibited items into the Kingdom such as illicit drugs and kolanuts. They should recallthat penalty for drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia is death. Besides, NAHCON is in full collaboration with NDLEA and other interrelated agencies in ensuring that such persons are apprehended before embarking on the trip. Alhaji Zikrullah calls on intending pilgrims to see this opening as an opportunity to seek closeness to the Almighty by way of being of good conduct home and abroad.

 

Fatima Sanda Usara,

Head, Public Affairs,

NAHCON