By Peter Usman://
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has cautioned intending pilgrims falling victims of some travel agencies which it said are collecting Hajj fares from them with the assurance of securing Hajj slots for them under the entry visa category.
The commission, in a statement by its
Head, Public Affairs, Hajiya Fatima Sanda Usara, alleged that such agents attribute their claims to NAHCON’s permission, warning that “intending pilgrims are advised to take this caution alert seriously.”
The statement, which explained that entry visa is not synonymous with Hajj permit, informed that the NAHCON had in a warning first issued on Friday, May 28, 2021 dissociated itself from any agent claiming to transport pilgrims to 2021 Hajj without Saudi Arabia’s clearance.
“Thereafter the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) had categorically stated that only the 60,000 selected to perform Hajj from within Saudi Arabia shall be allowed access into the holy sites where the Hajj rites take place. Anyone caught at the vicinity without legal permit shall be fined 10,000 Saudi Riyals equivalent to over a million Naira. Saudi Press Agency has already informed of arrests due to violation of this restriction.
“NAHCON is reiterating the warning to general public to be cautious of falling victims to fraudsters in the name of Hajj travel agents. Such persons are preying on the desperation of some intending pilgrims to perform Hajj at all costs which in itself violates the Islamic principle of pilgrimage for the sake of Allah.
“Of course with entry visa, an individual can travel only as far as into Saudi Arabia but not near the holy sites without the Hajj permit whose issuance has long been closed. No foreign pilgrim was allowed to access the application website talk little of registering.
“It is also alleged that the so called Hajj agents connive with some Saudi legal residents through whose residential licenses (igama) they would secure the Hajj permit for their clients. The warning here is that the system is biometrical with the original owners’ data fully computed.
“Therefore, the mismatch would be automatically detected once subjected to screening. No one should fall victim of detention and embarrassment for the sake of performing Hajj 2021,” the statement stressed.
NAHCON, however, urged all intending pilgrims to bear the Hajj restriction with patience until the situation is reversed, stating that “this patience will itself earn one handsome reward”, adding that “anyone who does contrary does so at his own peril.”
It also advised the public to report any person collecting money and giving assurance of securing 2021 Hajj slot under the entry visa to the commission.