The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Wednesday called on state pilgrims welfare boards to ensure prudent distribution of Hajj seats.
The Head of Media of the commission, Uba Mana, made the call in an interview in Abuja.
“ NAHCON is calling on the states pilgrims welfare boards, agencies and commissions to be God-fearing and fair when it comes to distributing Hajj seats,
“ Like the commission has earlier stated, emphasis should be on those that have not travelled to Hajj at all to ensure justice and fair play. “
Mana said the measure became imperative following the 20 per cent global reduction in Hajj seats allocation for the 2013 Hajj exercise by the Government of Saudi Arabia.
According to him, the decision of the Saudi Authority to cut down number of pilgrims for this year?s Hajj is because of the on-going construction work at the Grand Mosque in Makkah .
He said that the usual capacity of the TAWAF site was a maximum of 48,000 persons but that the expansion project reduced the number to 22,000 people.
Mana said: “ the 95,000 pilgrims earlier allocated to Nigeria has now been scaled down to 76,000 pilgrims.
“ “ The implication of this development is as bitter as it is but the reality is that this general reduction does not affect Nigerian pilgrims alone.
“ It is a global issue; any Muslim country that intends to perform this year?s Hajj must reduce it by 20 percent because of the construction work going on at the TAWAF site,” he said.
Mana said that in Islam, it was only Allah that could call those that would go to Makkah, and advised all persons that might be affected by the reduction to take it as from Allah.
“ If one is not able to travel this year due this reduction of number, my advice to him is that it is Allah?s wish.
“ Therefore, intending pilgrims should accept it the way it is and pray to Allah to give them long life to be able to perform the Hajj next year, ” Mana said.
He said the commission had already allocated the Hajj seats to various states of the federation, and that it was their responsibility to reduce 20 per cent out of the allocation.