• Hints on 2022 Hajj Operations
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced its plan to release a revised quota of pilgrims for hajj 2022 to each participating country.
This was just as the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) yesterday hailed the Saudi Arabian authorities for lifting the ban on direct flights from Nigeria into the kingdom.
It said the lifting of the ban was a brave move in spite of Covid-19 pandemic.
The kingdom had in 2020 restricted the annual spiritual activities to citizens and residents within the Kingdom as part of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly Covid-19.
On December 8, 2021, it placed a ban on direct flights from Nigeria and 16 other countries on the heels of the emergence of the Omicron variant of the Covid- 19.
The other countries include Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, among others.
The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic had prevented international pilgrims from performing the obligatory Hajj, which is the fifth pillar of Islam, in the past two years. Only Saudis and other nationals resident in the Kingdom performed the spiritual exercise both in 2020 and 2021. NAHCON in a statement signed by its Head, Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Umar, said: “The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) received the pleasant news of the uplifting of direct travel ban into Saudi Arabia effective from the 5th of March, 2022.
“This came via a circular released by General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA). In addition, a near total cancellation of Covid-19 restrictions were announced indicative of a return to regularity”.