The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has allocated 1,518 seats to Jigawa for the 2024 Hajj Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
Alhaji Ahmad Labbo, Executive Secretary, Jigawa State Pilgrims Welfare Board, disclosed the figure at a news conference in Dutse on Tuesday.
Labbo said the board had distributed the seats to its Centre Officers in the 13 zonal offices of the board for sell to intending pilgrims across the 27 local government areas of the state.
He explained that 1045 of the 1,518 seats would be allocated to local governments areas, out of which 638, representing 60 per cent would be sold to fresh payers while 407, representing 40 per cent would be sold to those that deposited through Jaiz bank, while the rest would be reserved for officials that would accompany the intending pilgrims.
The executive secretary, however, pointed out that those who wished to pay through Jaiz bank must fill a form to be provided by the board before making payment.
According to him, the gesture is part of proactive measures put in place by the board to know the exact number of people paying so as to avoid over selling the seats.
“The introduction of this form is to avoid a situation where people will be paying through Jaiz bank without our knowledge but with this initiative, we will be able to know the exact number so that at the end of day, there will be no complain of paying and not getting the seat,” he explained.
Labbo further stated that each intending pilgrim is expected to pay N4.5 million as deposit, pending the announcement of the 2024 Hajj by NAHCON.
He added that the authorities of Saudi Arabia would close visa issuance 50 days before Arafat, hence the need for the board to begin early preparations in order to enable intending pilgrims to secure their visas on time.
“And the board will soon take a Pre-Hajj visit to Saudi Arabia as part of its early preparations and with a view to securing a befitting accommodation for our pilgrims,” he said.
The executive secretary added that the board had reviewed its 2023 operation with all stakeholders where successes and challenges were identified to enhance its subsequent operations.
“As you’re aware, the conduct of successful operation requires the support and cooperation of all stakeholders.
“And we are grateful to all our stakeholders, particularly the state government for its support and commitment, especially the feeding of pilgrims.
“And its also our hope that the same gesture will be extended to the 2024 pilgrims,” the official said.
He, therefore, advised the zonal and centre officers to be fair and just in the discharge of their duties, pointing out that the board would strictly monitor the sale of seats.
1,570 seats were allocated to the state for the 2023 Hajj and 1,576 pilgrims were able to perform the exercise, while three could not make it due to sickness and other reasons. (NAN)