By Bukola Hameed
The Lagos State Government, through the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, has commenced the payment of refunds to 564 intending pilgrims that had applied for the reimbursements of their Hajj fare paid between 2019 and 2022 after their inability to perform the last hajj exercise.
The refund exercise, which took place at the Shamsi Adisa Thomas (SAT) Mosque hall, Old Secretariat, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, had the majority of the beneficiaries in attendance.
In his brief address at the event, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi extended the State Government’s appreciation to the beneficiaries for their patience, perseverance and understanding, saying that the delay experienced before the refund was finally effected was brought about by the need to properly scrutinise and verify their details in order to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Elegushi disclosed that the total amount of the refund being made to the beneficiaries is N743,530,000.00, adding that cheques had been written in favour of each beneficiary based on the amount they paid as Hajj fare.
Describing Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Administration as a promise keeper that means well for the citizenry, he said that the government is ever ready to protect their interest at all times. He also emphasised that the State Muslim Pilgrims Board is very much committed to its mission of providing the intending pilgrims with the best Hajj experience.
Elegushi assured intending pilgrims who chose to keep their money with the State Government as payment for the year 2023 holy pilgrimage exercise that they would be given priority when the hajj operation eventually commences, adding that forms would not be sold to new entrants until they have been settled.
Recall that many of the over 4,000 intending pilgrims who were registered by the State were unable to perform the 2022 hajj exercise due to the increment in the Hajj fare from N1,300,000.00 to N2,640,000.00, age barrier and other stringent measures put in place by the Saudi authority.
Top government officials present at the event include the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs. Lolade Aina; Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic Matters, Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi Jebe and Board Chairman, Imam (Engr) Shakiru Ayinde Gafar, Secretary among others.
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