The federal government has confirmed the report of the cancellation of the 2021 Hajj for international pilgrims.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), in a statement issued on Saturday, said its officials in Saudi Arabia have confirmed the cancellation which was reported by state television and radio stations in the Kingdom.
It was stated that Saudi Arabia is limiting the annual Muslim spiritual rites to only 60,000 pilgrims open to only Saudi citizens and foreigners residing in the country as a precaution to obviate the spread of COVID-19.
It would mark the second year in succession that the Hajj, which usually hosts two million pilgrims, will be abridged due to the pandemic.
In the statement issued by its spokesperson, Fatima Usara Sanda, NAHCON said it respected the decision of Saudi Arabia in this regard no matter how painful that decision might be to the country and to intending pilgrims worldwide.
“We have accepted that it is Allah’s divine design that multitudes will again this year not perform the Hajj: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is only playing out a script ordained by our Maker long before creation of the universe. Our prayer is that we collectively turn to Him in repentance so that He admits us for Hajj in the coming years,” NAHCON said.
The statement also said that NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, commended the resilience of Nigerian intending pilgrims and the support they have exhibited during the long and tortuous wait, including their adherence to each instruction given by the commission and the total compliance in receiving Covid-19 jab with the hope of performing the 2021 Hajj.
NAHCON added that as in the previous year, those pilgrims seeking refund of their Hajj deposits will be granted such without unnecessary delay.