Over 70 Nigerian Christians could not make it to Jordan for the 2021 pilgrimage due to late release of COVID-19 vaccine test results.
This is coming shortly after the National Primary Health Care Development Agency warned that Holy cities such as Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem have made it mandatory for pilgrims to provide proof of vaccination before they can be granted access for pilgrimage.
The Executive Director, Faisal Shuaib had said early in the week that many countries have made vaccination a requirement to gain access to their countries as the COVID-19 vaccines have become available worldwide.
“I would like to remind all Nigerians that evidence of vaccination against COVID-19 is now mandatory for all pilgrims to the holy cities of Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem.
“I therefore urge adherents of both religions who are planning to perform pilgrimage next year or in the future, to get vaccinated now to avoid any delays.”
But, the Delta State Government today, September 3, decried the decision of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission to centralise COVID-19 tests for intending pilgrims in the state, as 77 pilgrims from the state were not airlifted.
The State government, through the Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, said that the centralised COVID-19 test as directed by the NCPC had caused untold hardship to the intending pilgrims.
“Because of in the haphazard release of the test results, 77 of them were not airlifted to Jordan.
“It was disappointing for the intending pilgrims especially as the State had accredited centres to carry out the COVID-19 test in the state.”
According to him, a total of 315 Deltans were supposed to have been airlifted to Jordan from the Port Harcourt International Airport.
He said 223 eventually travelled as 15 reportedly tested positive for the virus and 77 could not travel due to late release of their results.