- Intending Nigerian hajj pilgrims are left with two options following Saudi's cancellation of 2020 hajj due to Covid-19
- Nigeria hajj commission's chairman, Zikrullah Kunle Hassan said intending Nigerian pilgrims are to either get a refund or leave their money for 2021 hajj
- The 2020 hajj will only be open to Saudi nationals and other foreign nationals who reside in Saudi Arabia
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The chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, Barrister Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, says intending Nigerian pilgrims who have paid for the pilgrimage have two options following the cancellation of 2020 international hajj.
The Saudi government had announced on Monday, June 22, that the 2020 hajj will not be open to international pilgrims due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the government, only Saudi nationals and other foreign nationals who reside in Saudi will participate in the 2020 hajj.
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Following the development, Hassan said the two options before intending Nigerian pilgrims are to either get a refund or leave their money for 2021 hajj.
“Our message for intending pilgrims is that they have one or two options: they will get their refund or have the option of leaving the money for next year’s hajj,” Hassan said.
Also speaking on the development, Hajj and Umrah tour operators in Nigeria said they have accepted the Saudi government’ decision as the will of God.
The vice-chairman of the Association of Hajj and Umrah Operators of Nigeria (AHUON), South-West Zone, Alhaji Qasim Alabi, said tour operators should not think about the profit at the expense of people's health.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Saudi Arabia could limit numbers at the annual hajj pilgrimage to prevent a further outbreak of coronavirus after cases in the country topped 100,000.
The hajj and the lesser year-round umrah pilgrimage earn the kingdom about $12 billion a year.
Sources quoted in the report said authorities are now considering allowing "only symbolic numbers" this year, with restrictions including a ban on older pilgrims and additional health checks.
In other related news, Friday prayers in mosques across Saudi Arabia are back after more than two months following the suspension of congregational prayers over COVID-19.
Nearly 100,000 worshippers attended the Friday prayers in the Prophet Mosque in Medina, according to World Gulf, a state body in charge of the holy site’s affairs, on its official Twitter account.
There were strict health measures during worship. Each worshipper had his own rug and observed designated distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
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