From Mohammed Ibrahim Kaduna
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has sought the assistance of the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Nigeria for more Biometric Data Capture Centres for intending pilgrims across the country.
Presently only three centres in three states of the federation were available to capture intending pilgrims for 2018 hajj exercise and the centres are in states like Kano, Lagos and Abuja.
NAHCON feels the three centres wouldn’t be enough to handle Nigeria’s 95,000 pilgrims hence the need to seek for more centres.
It was gathered that this year will be the first time Saudi Arabian authorities would be introducing the biometric data capture during hajj exercise in Nigeria.
Barrister Abdullahi Muktar who is the Chairman of NAHCON represented by his Senior Official Abdullahi Modibbo Saleh at a Sensitization event organized for intending pilgrims in Kaduna at the weekend, said with the population of Nigeria’s pilgrims three centres will not be enough.
“ We have written to Saudi Arabia embassy in Nigeria that we need more centres because of our large pilgrims population. So, we need centres in each state if possible to make it easy for our pilgrims to be captured.
“ This is why we are encouraging our intending pilgrims to try and complete their hajj seats payment because the new law about the biometric is new in the country.
“ It’s very important because the Saudi Arabian authorities warns that there would be no visa for anybody that is not captured by the biometric machine. We are hoping that more centres will be provided so that our pilgrims will be captured easily,” he said.
On the complete payment of the hajj fare by intending pilgrims Abdullahi Said “ We have set March 31 as deadline. We hope anybody interested to perform this year will be able to complete his payment before the end of March,” he said.
According to him, interested persons are advised to deposit 1.5 million naira as hajj seat fare.
In his remarks, Director Kaduna State Bereau for Religious Affaira, Engineer Namadi Musa appeal to NAHCON to find a solution to the biometric issue.
He also said So far Kaduna state is the only state across the federation that have registered up to 1,300 intending pilgrims.
Engineer Namadi also urged NAHCON to ensure that 2018 hajj fare doesn’t exceed 1.5 million due to economic challenges in the country.