…mulls quick biometric data capturing for intending pilgrims
The Federal Government has begun plans to exhaust the 95, 000 Hajj quota given to it by Kingdom of Saud in Arabia for the 2019 Hajj rite. The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), which is championing this plan according to checks by New Telegraph has opened up talks with the king-dom to secure early date for the biometric data capturing (BDC) of intending pilgrims. The BDC, it was gathered was partly responsible for low turnout of Nigeria pilgrims at the 2018 rite. The Oyo State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, in the same vein, has started the sale of form to intending pilgrims for 2019 Hajj.
The Chairman of the board, Alhaji Taofeek Akewugbagold, who said this, added that the move was made upon completion of the 2018 Hajj exercise on September 6. Akewugbagold said that the board had not increased the cost of the Hajj from the N1.2 million charged for the 2018 Hajj. He said that the board commenced the sales of the form early in order to build on the achievements recorded in 2018 and to register more pilgrims for the coming hajj. Akewugbagold said that Oyo State was one of the few states that exhausted the allocation given by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria in 2018. He said: “Oyo State was the first state in the South West to return all her 992 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia.
“We spent only 23 days, which was less than a month in Saudi Arabia at this year’s hajj exercise compared to the previous years when we spent about 45 days. “We were able to arrive early because of the agreement we signed with Flynas, a Saudi Arabia air carrier.’’ He commended NAHCON for the success recorded in 2018 and appealed to the commission to ensure early arrival of pilgrims. Akewugbagold lauded Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State for the moral and financial support given to the board which contributed to the success recorded.