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2020 Hajj: Saudi retains 95, 000 slots for Nigeria

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Ahead of the 2020 Hajj operations, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has again allocated 95, 000 slots to Nigeria for its intending pilgrims just as it did during the 2019 holy pilgrimage.

This formed part of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU signed by the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada on behalf of Nigeria and the Saudi Arabian Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Saleh Bn Taher Benten who signed on behalf of the Kingdom.

The agreement, according to a statement by the Head of Public Affairs, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara, was signed at the weekend in preparation to the 2020 Hajj exercise.

The statement revealed that part of agreements reached for 2020 Hajj includes a strong reminder on the e-track registration guideline.

Leader of the Saudi delegation and Vice Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Abdul Fatah Mishat, re-emphasised that the Saudi Ministry of Hajj will not recognise any contractual agreement or payment done outside the e-track portal, saying such is considered illegal and would not be recognised by the Kingdom.

Mishat, however, said that pilgrims could pay an optional 100 Saudi Riyals or more as insurance cover for any accidents, loss of property and other risks they may face while on Hajj.

This, he added, exclude medical care as the Kingdom grants free health care to every pilgrim while in the holy land.

On the clarification on visa fees, leader of the delegation declared that the amount charged is 300 Riyals for all types of visas, adding that the validity of the Umrah and visit (tourism) visas do not extend to the Hajj period.

According to him, issuance of such visas ends shortly before the onset of Hajj season.

Mishat commended NAHCON for its effort in controlling visa violation and pilgrims absconding in the Kingdom.

He, however, informed that new policies will be conveyed to NAHCON via the ministry’s official platform and called for more collaboration between the commission’s ICT unit and that of the ministry.

On the shortage of toilets being experienced during the Mina outing, known as Masha’ir, Mishat assured that for 2020 Hajj, additional 60,000 toilets will be constructed by the Kingdom in order to address the problem.

NAHCON team at the event include Nigeria’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Justice Muhammad Isa Dodo, Acting Consul General, Ambassador Grema Satomi NAHCON’s Commissioner representing Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Nura Abba Rimi, Alhaji SaiduTiggi from Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh and Muhammad Danladi Galadima from Consulate General’s Office, Jeddah and the Acting Commissioner in-charge of Operations, NAHCON, Alhaji Abdullahi Modibbo Saleh.

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