The Nigeria’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Alhaji Yahaya Lawal on Thursday appealed to the authorities of Saudi Arabia to increase Nigeria’s hajj quota to the holy land just as he requested for the inclusion of Nigeria in Makkah Route Initiative.
Speaking at the meeting of Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Lawal said the demand for hajj seats by Nigerian Muslims had increased in recent years.
According to the Ambassador, the present 95,000 allocation was inadequate for the Nigerians who wish to undertake the religious journey.
Speaking further, Ambassador Lawal called on the on the Saudi Arabia authorities to include Nigeria in the Makkah Route Initiative.
He said Nigeria is one of the countries with the largest number of pilgrims that participate in Umrah and Hajj yearly.
The Makkah Route Initiative, which is part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, was launched in 2019.
It is to streamline pilgrims’ travel procedures from their home countries.
It involves the issuance of an electronic visa, collection of biometric characteristics, completion of passport procedures at the departure airport and verification of the necessary health requirements.
With the initiative, pilgrims, on arrival, are directly transported via buses to their accommodations in Makkah and Madinah.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Lawal advised Nigerian pilgrims to be good ambassadors of their country.
He enjoined them to make maximum use of Allah’s given opportunity to maximize temporal and spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage.
He pleaded with the pilgrims to utilize very well the facilities put in place to ensure their comfort and well being.