The Chairman of the Ondo State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board, Alhaji Zikrullah-Chandy Adam has expressed confidence that the 2023 Hajj exercise will be hitch-free disclosing that the 436 slots allocated to it by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) have been exhausted.
Adam who was speaking with newsmen in Akure, Thursday described the 2022 Hajj as an emergency operation after the COVID-19 pandemic, assuring that there will improvement that will translate to a hitch-free 2023 Hajj operations.
He stated that NAHCON allocated 436 Hajj slots to the State for the 2023 Holy Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, adding that intending pilgrims have already filled the whole of 436 slots allotted to the state out of the 96,000 slots allocated to Nigeria by the Saudi Arabian Government.
The board chairman said that the board had taken proactive steps to ensure that the operation was performed without any hindrance.
“The board plans to make a second visitation to Saudi Arabia next week, ahead of the Hajj proper,’’ he said.
He said that each intending pilgrim had deposited an initial amount of N3 million for the operation adding however, that the actual fees might be between N2.8million and N3.2million.
Adam, who said that State Government would not sponsor individuals for the Hajj, charged Muslims faithful to recognise the holy pilgrimage as the last pillar of Islam and a spiritual journey for those who have money to embark upon it.
He said that some people had made their intentions known by paying.
‘’It is during our screening that we will know those who are fit to go to embark on the journey.
“Although, the board has not conducted screening of any sort for those that have already paid, as soon as we come back from our second visit to Saudi Arabia, we will do it to enable us substitute names of those who is not qualified.
“Because those with the health issues, pregnancy and some who are not ripe to go for Hajj due to their lack of knowledge or who cannot meet up what Hajj required will not go as well.
“But I can assure you, in spite of hooks there and then in the 2022 hajj, this year is going to be better because of arrangements and improvement made by Saudi Arabia government,’’ he said.
He added: “So Hajj is not for business, it is a spiritual umbrella of our Deen (knowledge) and a spiritual journey to Saudi Arabia for the worship of Allah.”
He called on the Muslim faithful to always hearken to their religion and see themselves as lucky among the human race.
“Islam is religion of peace and love which all Muslim must not departed from, so, is behoove on us to love our neighbours and shun whatever that can disrupt the peace of our nation,” he said.