7th June, 2010
Sheikh Mohammed Yahaya, the Director of Propagation of Izala Islamic Movement, has called for an increase in the Basic TravelÂ Allowance (BTA) of Muslim pilgrims during Hajj to ease their hardships.
Yahaya told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Sunday that the current minimum BTA of 500 dollars was grossly inadequate to cater for the needs of a pilgrim during Hajj.
He said that Nigerian pilgrims spent more than one month in the holy land during Hajj, resulting in the complete exhaustion of the allowance.
He added that “pilgrims who found themselves in such a situation were forced to beg to feed themselves or sell their personal belongings at give away prices just to feed before their return to the country.
“I therefore appealed to the Federal Government to increase the BTA from the current 500 dollars to a reasonable amount that will allow pilgrims to perform their religious duties without too much stress,” the director said.
Yahaya urged the National Hajj Commission to reduce the number of days pilgrims spent in the holy land from an average of one month to two weeks.
He criticised the slow pace of transporting the pilgrims to the holy land by airline operators and their agents, saying the situation had caused many problems for both the pilgrims and Hajj officials.
He appealed to the Federal Government to revive the defunct Nigeria Airways or set up a similar one to assist in the transportation of the pilgrims instead of relying on private airline operators.