Kaduna State Pilgrims Welfare Agency has advised all intending pilgrims from Kaduna State to deposit not less than N1.5 million pending the final announcement of stipulated fee by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
The executive secretary of the agency, Dr Yusuf Yakubu Arrigasiyu, gave the advice at the inauguration of a scheme towards the collection of hajj fares for 2023 at the Emir of Zazzau’s palace in Zaria.
He said the effort was aimed at giving intending pilgrims the opportunity to secure hajj seats with ease.
Arrigasiyu, however, warned against payment of cash to any official of the agency, stressing that all payment must be done in the bank after collecting teller from hajj officers at local government level.
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The executive secretary, who briefed the Emir of Zazzau on new measures adopted by the agency to curtail favouritism, pledged to ensure that the seat allocation would be strictly done on ‘first-come first-served’ basis.
He said the agency had earlier conducted four-day training to avail hajj officials with the requisite knowledge on areas of improvement to bridge lapses witnessed during the previous operations for fruitful results.
In his remarks, the Emir of Zazzau, Malam Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, raised some observations including dehumanisation of pilgrims while in the holy land by some officials, poor logistics arrangements and favouritism in securing hajj seats.
“I don’t want a situation where you will come here and announce that you have commenced collection of hajj fares and when people go to pay, they will find that there is no seat left.
“This has been the situation in the past, so I want you to know that this is a religious activity and not political. Therefore, you must be just and fair in all you do regarding the conduct of your activities for successful results,” the emir warned.
Responding, the Director General, Kaduna State Interfaith, Barrister Tahir Umar Tahir, assured that the agency had put in place rigorous measures to sanitise the activities of hajj operations.
Tahir pledged that any official found wanting would not be spared.