IBADAN – Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing), has assured all pilgrims from the state who are already in Saudi Arabia for the 2022 Hajj that they would get $800 each approved by the National Hajj Commission, NAHCON as their Basic Travel Allowance, BTA.
Prof Sayed Malik, chairman of the Board gave the assurance while reacting to media reports that funds meant for pilgrims BTA may have been diverted.
He however admitted that the first batch of pilgrims that arrived Madinah, since June 19, 2022, have not been paid their BTA.
The pilgrims who were the first batch from the state had lamented non-payment of their BTA, a situation that left them stranded with no money to feed, calling on Governor Seyi Makinde to step in.
“It is not true in any way, that the Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing) has diverted funds meant for the payment of BTA of the first batch of pilgrims from the state, who are currently in Saudi Arabia.
“The truth of the matter is that there were delays in the release of BTA to the Board as a result of the late release of the circular guiding the payment of the allowances by the authorities in Abuja.
“This is not peculiar to Oyo State pilgrims, as all pilgrims across the states are faced with the same situation.
“As a result of the delay, the first batch of travellers from Oyo State and several other states of the federation had to embark on the trip to Saudi before the BTA could be secured.
“The delay, however, does not indicate that any of the travellers would lose their entitlements.
“It must be placed on record that the dollar scarcity which had hit the foreign exchange market is a key contributor to the delay to secure the required BTA.
“While the delayed payment of the BTA is regretted, we have to place on record that there is no intention to divert anyone’s entitlement or deny any of the pilgrims their due.
“We make bold to undertake that each of the pilgrims will get what is approved for them in the course of the holy pilgrimage.
“The welfare of every pilgrim remains our utmost concern at all times,” Prof Malik assured in a statement he personally signed.