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Hajj 2021: We can’t make COVID-19 vaccine compulsory for pilgrims — NAHCON

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said it cannot make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for 2021 intending pilgrims. 

The Commission’s Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, revealed this during an interactive session to mark the Fourth Board of NAHCON’s one year in office in Abuja. 

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He, however, said the Commission was working with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ensure all intending pilgrims were vaccinated if the Saudi Arabian authorities made it a condition for participation.

He expressed hope 2021 hajj would take place with the recent procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. 

“If the Saudi government insists that vaccine is a condition for participation and any prospective pilgrim says he or she will not take the vaccine, we will simply ask the person to go back and re-apply when the Saudi government changes its decision. But, we cannot compel anybody to take the vaccine,” he said.

Hassan said many Nigerians were already keying into the hajj savings scheme, adding that with the savings scheme, 60 per cent of hajj operations’ challenges would be solved. 

He noted the Commission was prioritising training its staff to boost their productivity and also launched a digital transformation master plan, which would increase efficiency in service delivery to Nigerian pilgrims.

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