Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi has hailed Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the state for supporting the intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for this year’s hajj rites, a befitting Tent B in the masha’ir as well as sumptous indigenous delicacies for the intending pilgrims.
Elegushi stated this during a meeting held at the Shamsi Adisa Thomas (SAT) Mosque, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, to brief pilgrims on the plans being put in place towards ensuring a successful Hajj operation this year.
Giving the reasons behind the increment in the 2022 Hajj fare, he said that the fare was increased from the initial N1.3 million charged since 2019 to N2,640,000.00 because the Saudi Arabian Government increased its Value Added Tax (VAT) and imposed taxes on other goods and services which were hitherto not in the tax net before. He stressed that the increment had affected virtually everything, including accommodation, airline, local transportation, amongst others.
The Commissioner who emphasized that the State wishes to secure accommodation closer to the Haram in Makkah but the fund available was not enough. He stressed that it was the Governor who in his magnanimity and kindheartedness that rendered his support by directing that a befitting accommodation, which is a walking distance from the Haram in Makkah should be secured for the State’s intending pilgrims.
Another critical intervention by the Governor was the tent which the intending pilgrims would be staying in Muna. According to him, the tent ‘C’ which is of a lower grade is what the money paid by pilgrims could afford but because the Governor wanted the best for his pilgrims, he also directed that a more befitting and higher grade tent ‘B’ should be secured so that the intending pilgrims could enjoy maximum comfort throughout their stay in Muna.
While assuring that the State would not leave anything untouched in her quest to provide them a remarkable Hajj experience, Elegushi said that adequate arrangement has been made with caterers to provide sumptuous meals in local delicacies for the intending pilgrims. He however appealed to those who are on special diet not to hesitate to notify the schedule officers so that their needs can be adequately catered for.
On the ‘Idahyah Ram’, the Commissioner confirmed that the cost had been increased to 809 Saudi Riyal. He however, noted that whilst slaughtering the ram is incumbent on every pilgrim, anyone who is financially incapacitated to slaughter one because of the high cost, must be prepared to observe three fast in Makkah and another seven when they return back home in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet.
He urged the intending pilgrims to reciprocate Mr. Governor’s kind gesture by praying fervently for him and his deputy Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat as well as the State.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Board Chairman, Engr. Shakir Ayinde Gafar told the intending pilgrims to thank Allah for counting them amongst the lucky ones that would perform the spiritual exercise this year.
He said that many who could afford the increment could not be accommodated by the Board because the limited slots allocated to the State by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) are not enough to go round.
Present at the occasion were the Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic matters, Alh. Ahmad Abdullahi Jebe; Dr. (Mrs.) Faosat Dabiri and Hon. AbdulWaheed Lolade Shonibare (Board members); Imam Hakeem Kosoko (Board Secretary, among others.