2021 Hajj: Gombe, Katsina refund N1.26bn to intending pilgrims
By Matthew ELOYI
The pilgrims’ welfare boards of Gombe and Katsina states have refunded a total of N1.26bn to intending pilgrims who were unable to go for the 2021 Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
For Gombe state, N495.2m was returned to 332 persons from the 2020/2021 intending pilgrims who applied for a refund, while N768.9m was paid to 599 intending pilgrims from Katsina state.
The refund follows the cancellation of the 2020 Hajj by the Saudi authority due to the outbreak of Covid-19 around the world.
According to a statement issued on Thursday by the Head of Media, Gombe State Board, Hauwa Mohammed, the affected persons have been fully refunded.
“The Hajj deposit refunds are still in progress for those who wish to collect their deposits. The board wishes to call on intending pilgrims from the state wishing to make Hajj deposit for 2022 Hajj exercise to exercise patience as the Board is still awaiting further guidelines and directives from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria,” the statement said.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Alhaji Sa’adu Adamu urged other intending pilgrims who rolled over their Hajj deposits to the Hajj 2022 exercise to intensify prayers for control of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Katsina State board, Alhaji Suleiman Kuki, stated that the refund made represented 22.01 percent of the total 2,721 intending pilgrims that deposited their money with the board.
In his words, “From the statistics of the board’s pilgrims registration, the board has depositors with payments ranging from N300,000 to N1.500,000, and all refunds are made to the last kobo.”
Kuki stated that the exercise was ongoing, adding that any intending pilgrim wishing to request a refund of his/her deposits was free to do so.
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He emphasised that those willing to roll over their deposits against 2022 Hajj could do so by contacting their zonal pilgrims offices to fill/sign the roll-over agreement form.
According to Kuki, though the cancellation of 2021 Hajj 2021 to foreign pilgrims by Saudi Arabian Authorities was due to the prevalence of COVID-19, there are indications that the Umrah exercise for 2022 will hold.