Pilgrims from Oyo State have begun protesting alleged diversion of funds by Oyo Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing) headed by Prof. Sayed Malik which has kept them stranded in Saudi Arabia where they went for the annual Hajj rituals.
The pilgrims, about 250 of them, say the board has refused to pay them the basic travel allowance (BTA).
This development comes as the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) had fixed N2.5 million as 2022 Hajj Fee which is inclusive of $800 BTA per pilgrim.
The first batch of the pilgrims from the state left Murtala International Airport, Lagos aboard FlyNas airline in the early hours of Sunday, June 19, 2022.
But, five days after their arrival in Madinah, the pilgrims are yet to be paid their BTA, leaving them stranded with no money to feed.
Surprisingly, the second batch that arrived Madinah on Thursday, June 23, 2022, came with $400 each.
However, they said they were ‘blackmailed’ into collecting $400 each from Nigeria as the officials asked them to either collect or be dropped from this year’s trip.
Report from Madinah says many pilgrims have fallen sick.
Further checks also reveal that the medical personnel that accompanied the pilgrims have no basic drugs to give them.
On Thursday afternoon, the pilgrims openly protested, calling on Governor Seyi Makinde to direct the board to pay their BTA.
A video showing the pilgrims protesting has already gone viral.
It was gathered that Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing) collected N2.6 million from each of the intending pilgrims as against N2.5 million announced by NAHCON.