Hajj and Umrah operator wants Nigeria to cancel 2021 Hajj, opens up on why fares may skyrocket to N2.7 million per pilgrim
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is yet to make public, quota for Nigeria as at Thursday, June 10, which is exactly 38 days to the Day of Arafat. Official data shows that Arafat Day comes up on 18th and/or 19th of July.
Platforms Africa reports that even if Saudi communicates today and open the road for limited foreign pilgrims, the cost of hajj is expected to skyrocket.
This unprecedented delay in making quota public, Platforms Africa gathered exclusively, has heightened tension among operators and intending pilgrims in the country and other parts of the World.
Indonesia, the largest Muslim-populated country in the World, has already cancelled the 2021 hajj for its citizens, and some of the operators have also called on the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to do the same thing.
One of them, Alhaji Ahmed Yellow Abubakar, in a reaction to this development, reportedly said that the 2021 hajj for foreign pilgrims is no more feasible.
Saudi Arabia, checks by Platforms Africa showed as at press time, has not communicated to countries on the preparation and slots for this hajj which is already about 30 days away.
Last Sunday, the Acting Saudi minister of communications, Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, stated during a press conference in Riyadh that the Saudi authorities are monitoring (pandemic) developments and that the ministers of Hajj and Umrah, as well as health, would make a decision soon.
Due to COVID variations it was critical, according to Al-Qasabi, to assess the impact of the spread of the virus carefully and accurately.
“We don’t want this year’s Hajj to be an epicenter for the disease’s spread in the Kingdom or the Muslim world,” he said.
An Hajj operator in Nigeria Yellow Abubakar who is the Chairman, CEO Eminasta Travels and Tours, was however, quoted to have said that the best thing for NAHCON to do is to cancel the exercise for this year.
“He explained that before now, four to five people are always in a room within the regime of N1.3 million per pilgrim, but under this new restriction order where not more than two will be allowed in a room, I do not see how the N1.3million is feasible. If this happens, hajj could go for N2.5 to N2.7million.
“How many already registered pilgrims will afford that. So, here and there, hajj is not feasible for now. I am the first private tour operators in Africa to take pilgrims on Umrah after the ban was in Jan this year. I know what I am talking about,” a report by Kaabanews quoted to him to have said.
“Saudi is not ready to receive foreign pilgrims on this year hajj. The earlier we know this, the better for us. We can beging to plan for 2022 just like some other countries have done by announcing their cancellations,”
He insisted that the NAHCON should cancel the exercise in the interest of Nigerian pilgrims.
Saudi; he said, is perhaps apprehensive on the spread of the covid-19 variant.