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Hajj 2024: How Sanwo-Olu resolved BTA differentials for 1,846 Lagos pilgrims

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IBRAHIM QUADRI

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has saved the state pilgrims from suffering the shortfall in their Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) as a result of fluctuation in foreign exchange rates.

The Governor waded into the matter following a recent protest by some intending pilgrims who alleged irregularities with $400 BTA given to them instead of $500 as announced by the National Hajj Commission, NAHCON.

NAHCON had used N1,252.01 per dollar to calculate hajj fare to give $500 as BTA to each pilgrim, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released BTA at N1,530.86 per dollar, which gives each pilgrim $415 instead of $500.

While briefing journalists during the departure of the fifth and last batch of the pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Hon. Ibrahim Layode, said that Governor Sanwo-Olu approved the payment of the $100 shortfall for each of the pilgrims, pending the resolution of the matter by both NAHCON and CBN.

Layode commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for the timely intervention and his kind-heartedness which, according to him, will go along way to ease the pilgrims while conducting Hajj rites.

He also assured the pilgrims that the promises made by Governor to pay their sacrificial rams, Ihram clothes and ziyyarah (visitation) to historical sites both in Makkah and Madinah will all be fulfilled.

Layode also admonished them to be cautious of their conduct while in the holy land and avoid anything that could bring the state and county at large to disrepute.

Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board commenced its airlifting exercise on Friday, May 17 with 425 pilgrims and this was immediately followed by the second batch of another 425 pilgrims on Saturday, May 18.

The third batch of 428 pilgrims was airlifted on Thursday, May 22, which was also followed by the fourth flight of 312 pilgrims on Friday, May 24 while the fifth and final batch of 256 pilgrims departed Nigeria on Sunday, May 26, 2024 bringing the total pilgrims airlifted by the state to 1,846.

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