The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, (NAHCON) says it receives with gladness the pleasant news of the lifting of direct travel ban into Saudi Arabia.
From the 5th of March 2022, Nigerians can now fly directly to Saudi Arabia, according to a circular released by General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA).
A statement signed by Fatima Sanda Usara, Head, Public Affairs of NAHCON, said also that a near total cancellation of Covid-19 restrictions were announced indicative of a return to regularity.
The agency noted that the only requirement for entry into the Kingdom is now full vaccination with the accompanying registration on Tawakkalna and Eatmarna apps as gateway.
This development means that intending pilgrims for Umrah from Nigeria and other similarly banned countries are now permitted to travel directly into Saudi Arabia so long they fulfil the mandatory vaccines requirement.
As a result, the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, says he rejoices with multitudes of Muslims all over the world, Nigeria in particular, for the normalization of worship in the two Holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah.
Indeed, it has been two years of agonizing deprivation for those to whom Saudi Arabia is not just a home of worship but also a means of livelihood.
Alhaji Hassan, however, says he appreciates the fact that Saudi Arabia’s decisions on matters of Hajj and Umrah have always been in the interest of the Muslim world and the generality of humanity, no matter how difficult the decision might seem.
Hence, while giving gratitude to the Almighty, the NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Hassan, commended the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, Khadimal Haramain, His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, for this brave move to the Muslim ummah despite the pandemic challenges.
Consequently, with the heightened hope that international Hajj would be open in the 2022, NAHCON seized the opportunity to inform the public that guidelines for participation in the Hajj shall be communicated to Nigerian intending pilgrims after signing of the MoU between NAHCON and the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Alhaji Hassan repeated his counsel to Nigerian intending pilgrims to be law abiding whenever they travel out of the country for Hajj or Umrah.
“Though Nigerian intending pilgrims’ response to covid-19 vaccination was impressive, yet anyone wishing to embark on Hajj and Umrah is to remember that full vaccination is required as a safety precaution for himself and residents of Saudi Arabia as well as fellow Muslim travelers to the holy land for worship. They are thus reminded that unmet vaccine requirement may lead to quarantine and or other penalties,” the Chairman said.
“Intending pilgrims are also reminded to desist from travelling with prohibited items into the Kingdom such as illicit drugs and kolanuts. They should recall that penalty for drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia is death.”
Besides, NAHCON said it is in full collaboration with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, and other interrelated agencies in ensuring that such persons are apprehended before embarking on the trip.
The agency called on intending pilgrims to see this opening as an opportunity to seek closeness to the Almighty by way of being of good conduct home and abroad.