By Segun Oye
As Muslims worldwide are counting down to the commencement of the 2022 hajj rituals, no fewer than 151 intending pilgrims from Oyo state, Wednesday, stormed the state secretariat in Ibadan, to protest delaying in their airlifting to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The pilgrims who had paid in full and were supposed to be on the first batch list, told Governor Seyi Makinde that their names were removed and suddenly placed on the ‘waiting list’.
Prompt News Online reports that the first batch of 261 pilgrims from the state arrived Madinah, on Sunday morning, June 19, 2022.
Mr. Adebayo Gafar, an intending pilgrim who spoke on behalf of the protesters said placing them on the ‘waiting list’ was unacceptable because the pilgrims wanted to do all that is necessary to observe the religious exercise and pray for the state.
“We want you to quickly come to our aid on this matter as time is far spent and so that our hope won’t be dashed on this journey,” he begged the governor.
Responding, Governor Makinde, assured that his administration will smoothen Hajj operations and make the Olodo Hajj Camp habitable for pilgrims.
“Sincerely speaking, I have noted all your complaints. Yesternight, I had a meeting with the committee to understand how we got into this problem. Just like you said, fair is fair and I told them that the additional quota of 150 was not supposed to be mixed with the existing people on the list. So, I agree totally with you.
The mistake that happened was that no one should have been removed from the 629 included in the first batch.
“But for whatever that must have happened, I want you to hold me responsible. You gave me this job to look after everybody.
“Let us put our hope in God. Of course, we will go and try to solve this problem and if there is that reinstatement, all of you will go.”
Prompt News Online reports that the National Hajj Commission, NAHCON, originally allocated 629 slots to Oyo state and fixed N2.5 million as 2022 Hajj fee even though Oyo Pilgrims Welfare Board collected N2.6 million and yet to refund the excess.