Laleye Dipo in Minna
Following the decision of the Saudi Arabia authorities to demolish some of the buildings used for the accommodation of pilgrims, thousands of Muslims who will perform the Holy pilgrimage this year may face accommodation problems.
A report from Saudi Arabia indicateed that not less than 60 percent of the structures used last year are already being pulled down.
The report confirmed by the Executive Secretary of the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Umar Makun Lapai, who is at the head of a government delegation to Saudi Arabia to negotiate for accommodation for those that will perform the pilgrimage from the state, said the structures are being demolished or have been marked for demolition.
Adding to this, Lapai said the increase in the number of pilgrims expected to perform the pilgrimage would further have negative impact on the availability of accommodation for the pilgrims.
“Over 3.7 million pilgrims are expected to perform the 2023 Hajj exercise globally as against 1 million pilgrims in 2022,” Lapai said.
According to the report, the executive secretary said some of the service providers are increasing the cost of their houses and hotels as a result of the development.
Lapai, therefore, appealed to intending pilgrims from the state and the country in general to speedily complete the payment of their Hajj fares so as to beat the rush that will accompany the shortage of accommodation that is envisaged because the board “can only secure accommodation for those who paid on time.”
Some members of the state House of Assembly Committee on Religious Affairs are on the delegation to Saudi Arabia with the executive secretary.