Oyo intending pilgrims protest delay in Hajj airlifting

Posted by News Express | 23 June 2022 | 253 times

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•Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque


Some intending pilgrims of Oyo State, on Wednesday, staged a protest to the state secretariat, Ibadan, over the delay in their airlifting to Mecca for pilgrimage.

Led by Adebayo Gafar, the intending pilgrims lamented that 151 of them who were meant to be among the first batch of those airlifted have now found their names among those on the waiting list.

Speaking, Gafar expressed the trauma being faced after several of them had had to sell off their personal belongings to meet the deadline for payment.

He also pointed to the fact that they have had to bear with discomfort and inhabitability staying at the Olodo Hajj camp waiting to be lifted, for the past days.

He, consequently, urged state governor, Seyi Makinde to urgently intervene so that their yearning to partake in this year’s Hajj pilgrimage does not turn out to be in vain.

Gafar said: “We want you to quickly come to our aid on this matter as time is far spent and so that our hope won’t be dashed on this journey.”

Addressing the protesters, Makinde attributed the delay in airlifting them to the mix-up in the quota given to the state by the National Hajj Commission.

He, however, assured that his government would synergize with the national Hajj commission to resolve the bottlenecks causing delays in their airlifting.

Though he noted that the bottlenecks were not unconnected with the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and attendant restricted quota, he assured that his administration would take necessary actions to ensure that those shortlisted for Oyo State are airlifted.

He explained that the state initially got a list of 629 intending pilgrims, thereafter an additional 150 making 779, which should not have been mixed up to give advantage to some persons.

Speaking further, Makinde said he had got information that the National Hajj Commission had promised to reinstate the initial 150 slots it suspended for the state, stating that once that is done, his administration would ensure they are airlifted as soon as possible.

Makinde said: “Sincerely speaking, I have noted all your complaints. Yesternight, I had a meeting with the committee to understand how we got into this problem. Just like you said, fair is fair and I told them that the additional quota of 150 was not supposed to be mixed with the existing people on the list. So, I agree totally with you.

“I got information from one of my aides a few minutes back that the Hajj Commission is trying to reinstate the 150 for us. The mistake that happened was that no one should have been removed from the 629 included in the first batch.

“But for whatever that must have happened, I want you to hold me responsible. You gave me this job to look after everybody.

“Let us put our hope in God. Of course, we will go and try to solve this problem and if there is that reinstatement, all of you will go,” the governor added.

Speaking on the situation at the Hajj Camp, Olodo, Ibadan, the governor assured us that he will take steps to fix the camp.

“I will do something about it and I want to assure you that this will be the last time something of this nature will happen.

“We will do everything humanly possible to address this matter. Please, I beg you to cooperate with us. We will try our best and if they give us the entire slot, everyone will go. Consequently, things will not be like this,” Makinde said.  (Nigerian Tribune)

Source: News Express

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