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NAHCON working to resolve shortage of Ramadan umrah visa

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it is working to resolve the shortage of Ramadan umrah visas for Nigerians.

Mrs. Fatima Sanda-Usara, the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, NAHCON, said this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

She said that the challenges faced by Nigerians in obtaining Umrah visas for travel to Saudi Arabia during Ramadan were regrettable.

Sanda-Usara said that the situation stemmed from the misuse of privileges granted in the visa issuance process.

”Umrah visas are allocated to countries based on quotas, with Ramadan Umrah visas usually being more expensive.

”Recently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extended the visa validity to 90 days. It is obvious many Nigerians secured these visas at lower costs during other periods, obviously in anticipation of performing umrah during the month of Ramadan with them.

”These individuals exploited the visa validity extension by either prolonging their stays in the kingdom or holding onto visas without utilising them until Ramadan, resulting in a shortage of available visa slots for other Nigerians.

”The high demand for umrah visas during Ramadan further exacerbates this shortage, leaving many Nigerians unable to fulfill their religious obligations,” she said.

Sanda-Usara said that efforts were being made to address the problem.

She said that NAHCON had officially written to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, communicating its concerns and outlining the implications of the non-availability of visas for Nigerian tour operators.

Sanda-Usara said that the Chairman of NAHCON, Malam Jalal Arabi, had personally visited the Saudi embassy in Nigeria to explore potential solutions to this matter.

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She assured us that NAHCON remained committed to resolving the issue.(NAN)

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