Saudi Arabia will open the Umrah, lesser pilgrimage to Mecca, for Muslims from other countries from November 1, Saudi media reported on Thursday.
The news comes as the kingdom relaxes measures it had taken to check the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Umrah pilgrimage is allowed for Muslims from across the world,” Saudi state TV said, citing a statement from the Ministry of Pilgrimage.
The Saudi-owned, Dubai-based TV channel Al-Arabiya said Umrah would be allowed from November 1.
Umrah is a pilgrimage which can be undertaken at any time of the year, in contrast to Hajj, which has specific dates, the last 10 days of the 12th month (Dhul-Hijjah) of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Saudi Arabia closed its borders in February to foreign Umrah pilgrims, and in March stopped its own citizens and residents from taking part.
In July, it allowed a limited number of domestic pilgrims to perform the Hajj.
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Buhari to visit Imo on Thursday, says Uzodimma
Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo, says President Muhammadu Buhari will visit the state on Thursday, September 9.
The governor spoke of the visit while addressing journalists at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, on Saturday.
Uzodimma said the president will commission some “significant projects” executed by his administration.
The governor said that he visited Abuja to “address some political matters and some critical issues that are supposed to be handled in Abuja”.
He listed the issues to include getting the federal government’s assistance on the World Bank programmes on rural roads, ecological programmes, and the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management (NEWMAP) projects.
“While in Abuja, I secured approval for President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Imo on Thursday, Sept. 9, to commission some significant projects put together by the Shared Prosperity Administration.
“More to that, Imo has been able to attract additional support from Mr President on management of some ecological problems in the state,’’ he said.
Uzodimma was recently named as the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign council for the Anambra governorship election.
Nigeria’s U.S. Embassy, consulates uncover fake website for passport application
The Nigerian Embassy and Consulates-General in the U.S. have raised alarm over a fake website for passport application.
The alarm was jointly sounded Thursday by the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, DC, the Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York and the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Atlanta.
The missions warned Nigerians against using unauthorised websites and the need for them to seek proper guidance on passport applications.
They also warned that the fake website was defrauding unsuspecting Nigerians by directing them to make payments, which are unauthorised by the missions.
“The attention of the Nigerian Embassy and Consulates in the United States have been drawn to the operations of a website, www.nigerianpassports.com, purporting to be a platform for processing Nigerian International Passport.”
“The website directs passport applicants to make payments through Zelle using Tel no. 770-510-9332.
“The Nigerian Embassy in Washington and the Consulates in New York and Atlanta wish to state that this website is fake and set up to defraud applicants for Nigerian passport.
“While the Embassy and Consulates liaise with local authorities and the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters in Abuja to investigate this fraudulent website, the general public is reminded that the global website for applications for Nigerian passport remains portal.immigration.gov.ng.
“Applicants outside Nigeria are to apply through the official websites of the respective Embassies/Consulates where they intend to process their passports,’’ the document read in part.
The missions advised applicants outside Nigeria to apply through the official websites of the respective embassies and consulates where they intend to process their passports.
The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York had on Wednesday drawn the attention of nationals to the website, urging them to seek information only on the consulate’s website: www.nigeriahouse.com.
In addition, the Consulate-General advised all passport applicants to channel their enquiries to the consulate through the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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