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Sanwo-Olu Pays Hajj Pilgrims’ $186,800 Fare Shortfall

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has given out approximately $186,800 to make up for the shortfall in the Travel Basic Allowance of Hajj pilgrims from the state.

The state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Olanrewaju Layode, disclosed this while addressing the fifth and last group of pilgrims prior to their departure from the state on Saturday.

According to a statement credited to Layode and signed by the ministry’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Taofeek Lawal, about 1,868 pilgrims had a $100 shortfall each due to forex instability.

The commissioner stated that although $500 had earlier been announced as a BTA for each pilgrim, this amount was later lowered by the Nigerian Central Bank and National Hajj Commission after many pilgrims, particularly those in the second batch, had received their allowance in full.

The commissioner went on to say that the governor’s action was intended to allay the fears of the pilgrims, who had characterised the cutbacks as “unfair and unacceptable.”

The statement partly read, “Honourable Layode, who is also the Amir-ul-Hajj, told the pilgrims that immediately the attention of Mr. Governor was drawn to the development, he, in his kind-heartedness and magnanimity, approved the payment of the $100 shortfall for each of the 1,868 pilgrims, pending the resolution of the matter by both NAHCON and the CBN.

“He also reiterated that Governor Sanwo-Olu, being a promise keeper, would keep his promises by paying the cost of the Hadaya (sacrificial) ram, ziyyarah (visitation) to historical sites in both Madinah and Makkah, as well as monetising the Ihram clothes for each of them. He urged them not to pay anybody for the aforementioned items.”

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