Lagos State Government has disclosed that it has airlifted 1,598 pilgrims following the inability of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to secure proposed slots for Nigerian intending pilgrims to this year’s hajj.
The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofi Elegushi, announced this on Tuesday while addressing journalists during a press conference in Lagos.
Elegushi also noted that the Lagos State Government would make the full refund process quickly available for intending pilgrims who wish to seek refund.
He said, “You will recall that the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow any airlifting of pilgrims since 2020. This gave rise to an increase in the backlog of intending pilgrims since then.
“However, when the Saudi Arabia authorities gave the go-ahead for pilgrims to be airlifted this year 2022, we had over 4,000 intending pilgrims that have registered with the state.
“A total number of 1,562 slots were allocated to Lagos State by NAHCON and these were used up immediately by the state-contingent. A further 250 slots were given by NAHCON based on the expectation of additional 5,000 slots promised by the Saudi authorities, unfortunately, the Saudi authorities declined the 5,000 slots while we had gone ahead to allocate the 250 slots awaiting final processing and Visa from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“It is however regrettable to note that the 5,000 slots promised were declined by the Saudi authorities, thereby placing us in this precarious situation in which we find ourselves in Lagos State. We are aware that this matter affects every nation of the world that has intending pilgrims but the reactions and the need to make things clear have necessitated this address.
“Even though 1,562 slots were allocated to Lagos State by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria for this year’s hajj operations, a total number of 1,598 pilgrims, including those from approved private organisations in Lagos were airlifted by the state government.”
LASG pays N179m
The Lagos State Government has paid the sum of N179 million to 70 beneficiaries of deceased staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas in the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Mrs Kikelomo Sanyaolu, said this, according to a statement on Tuesday, adding that disbursement of the insurance benefits reaffirms the commitment of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration to the regular payment of entitlements.
Sanyaolu also stated that the payment is the first tranche for the year 2022, enjoining the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds, particularly in caring for the children of the deceased staff.