by Adeola Balogun
The desire of some Muslim faithful to embark on the yearly hajj pilgrimage has been frustrated after they were reportedly duped into thinking they would be ready in time to go for the trip.
The intending pilgrims, numbering 150, were abandoned at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos after waiting for their travel agent, who was reportedly supposed to bring over their passports attached with the requisite visas, to no avail.
The victims were reportedly said to have each parted with a sum of N950,000 for the procurement of visas to ensure their passage to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, bringing the total sum to a whopping N142.5million.
The Sun reports:
No fewer than 150 intending pilgrims to this year’s hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia were left stranded at the international wing of the in Lagos following their inability to show evidence of having secured a travel visa for the journey to the Holy Land.
It was gathered that the pilgrims, mostly from Ogun, Osun and Oyo states had been defrauded by a travel agent hired to secure travel visa, airfares and accommodation for them while in Saudi Arabia.
The pilgrims were expected to travel to Mecca last Friday with Qatar Airways, but the trip was truncated following the failure of the travel agent to show up with their passports and travel visas.
The agent (name withheld) was believed to have raked in about N142.5million from the 150 pilgrims as each of them was said to have paid N950, 000 for visa processing, airfares and other logistics charges.
It was gathered that Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia would officially close today, which means if they failed to travel yesterday night or early today, their dreams of participating in the 2013 hajj exercise to Mecca would have been defeated.
One of the pilgrims, Mr. Abdulwasiu Adeyemi from Abeokuta in Ogun State, who spoke to journalists, said they arrived at the airport as early as 7am last Friday, but were yet to travel for the hajj in Mecca.
Adeyemi said each of them paid the agent N950,000 for the visa, air ticket and accommodation, but lamented that as at last Friday, some of them could not lay hands on international passports containing their visa as the agent failed to show up.