– Demands increase in Hajj slots
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Alhaji Yahaya Lawal has called on the Saudi authorities to include Nigeria in the Makkah Router Initiative, which at present, seven countries are its beneficiary.
Alhaji Yahaya made the called on Thursday at the meeting of Organization of Islamic Countries, OIC, in Jeddah.
Muslim News gathered that the initiative, which began in 2019 as part of the “Guests of God Service Program”, aims to assist pilgrims by simplifying procedures so that they can be completed in their home countries.
This initiative, one of many initiatives in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, is being carried out in Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, and recently Turkiye.
Alhaji Yahaya said at present, Nigeria is the fourth or fifth country with the largest number of pilgrims that participate in umrah and hajj exercises in the Kingdom, year-in, year-out.
The Nigerian envoy also appealed to the Saudi authorities to increase Nigeria’s pilgrims quota, which has in recent years appear to be inadequate in view of the increase in demand for hajj seats each year from Nigerians wishing to undertake the religious journey.
He further reiterated his earlier advice to Nigerian pilgrims to be good ambassadors of their country and religion by being law-abiding and respecting laid down rules and regulations for ease of interaction.
The ambassador enjoined pilgrims to make use of this opportunity Allah has given them to maximize their temporal and spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage.
Alhaji Yahaya Lawal also called on the pilgrims to diligently utilise facilities put in place to ensure their comfort, wellbeing and ease of performing the hajj rites and other religious activities.
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