S/Arabia slashes Nigerian hajj slot

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

LAGOS—Indications have emerged that the Saudi Arabian authorities may have cut down the number of slots allocated to Nigeria for this year’s pilgrimage to the holy land by Muslim faithful.

This came as Lagos State Government, ahead of the commencement of Unified Pilgrims Electronic Registration System, APERS, opened five registration centres in the state as part of measures to ease this year hajj operations.

It would be recalled that in 2012, despite Vice President Namadi Sambo’s intervention into the detaining of over 1,000 Nigerian female pilgrims in the holy land, Saudi Arabian authorities later deported 510 of them.

About 171 pilgrims earlier deported sparked off a diplomatic row between the two countries.

The female returnees were among the women pilgrims for the 2012 hajj detained in Medina and Jeddah.

The authorities of Saudi Arabia claimed that the women were unaccompanied by male relations which was against laid down rules.

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