FCT returns N432m to 334 intending pilgrims, suspends fresh hajj registration

THE Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has refunded N432 million to 334 intending pilgrims who indicated interest to collect their 2021 hajj deposits.

The director of the board, Nasiru DanMallam, who disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja, recalled that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) had directed state pilgrims welfare boards to return 2021 hajj deposits to intending pilgrims following the cancellation of pilgrimage for international pilgrims by the Saudi authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DanMallam explained that before the hajj cancellation, the board had registered 1,714 intending pilgrims who indicated interest for the religious obligation through the board.

“This number includes those who rolled over their deposits from the already cancelled 2020 hajj. Following the cancellation, the board communicated to the intending pilgrims who might wish to collect their deposits to indicate interest and get refunded.

“As such, the board, as of Friday, September 10, 2021, had returned N432 million to 334 intending pilgrims who indicated interest to collect their deposits.

“The board made the refunds without any deductions and the exercise is ongoing,” he said.

The director, however, said that not all the remaining 1,380 intending pilgrims had paid the minimum deposit of N1.5 million required by NAHCON.

He explained that those who deposited below N1 million could not be captured in the central data base provided by the regulating body for the 2022 hajj.

“Therefore, the board advised those that deposited below the minimum amount to migrate from the accustomed method of payment for hajj seat to the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) initiated by the NAHCON to enable intending pilgrims pay for hajj at their own convenience.

“The Hajj Savings Scheme gives them a better chance of gradually completing their payment for hajj seats and participating in future exercise.

“However, those who have deposited up to N1.5 million and intent to roll over their deposit to 2022 hajj will surely get priority if it turns out that the hajj will take place and FCT gets enough slots to cater for them all.

“But those intending pilgrims should also note that their chances of getting the seat will depend on the number of hajj slots allocated to the FCT by NAHCON.”

DanMallam added that the board would not collect fresh deposits from intending pilgrims until it receives the 2022 hajj slots from NAHCON.

“This is after accommodating the rolled over depositors,” he said.

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