Hajj 2023: Gombe pilgrims board gets 246 additional seats, calls for quick payment of fares
The Gombe State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board says it has received additional allocation of 246 seats for intending pilgrims from the state from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
It similarly calls on all intending pilgrims whobare yet to complete their payments to do so to avoid delay in visa process.
The Executive Secretary of the board, Alhaji Sa’adu Hassan stated this on Friday while briefing the press on the preparations for this year’s Hajj exercise.
He said the additional allocation was made possible by the commendable service offered by the board in the 2022 exercise.
‘’The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, allocated 2304 seats to Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board Gombe State, but due to the pressure mounted on us by the intending Pilgrims, we sought for additional 250 seats from the commission to cater for the needs of our Pilgrims.
‘’ We have been granted additional allocation of 246. Now we have a total number of 2550 Hajj seats allocation and we need more. What may interest you to know about this development is that we attained this success through the leadership of H.E the governor of Gombe State Alhaji
Muhammadu Inuwa Yahya. Last year, Gombe State was allocated 1007 seats.
‘’Due to the support that we got from the state government and the smooth Hajj operation last year 2022, the Gombe State Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Board was appreciated with an award of honour by both NAHCON and the Independent Hajj Reporters for smooth Hajj operation.’’
He said that due to this feat and the easement of Covid-19 this year, the board got additional Hajj slots of 1246 making the total number of 2550 Hajj slots given to Gombe State this year”.
He noted that out of the fare of N2,919,000 (Two million, Nine Hundred and Nineteen thousand Naira for each intending pilgrim from the state for 2023 exercise, 2250 of the 2,550 slots have fully paid up the fare.
‘’Those that completed their payments have submitted their International Passports and we have forwarded them for Visa processing. We want to inform the general public, especially the intending Pilgrims, that they should continue to make early payment because delay in making payment will result in the delay visa issuance. So, we appeal to future Pilgrims to please complete their payments very early to avert visa delay”.
Hassan said that the board has commenced teaching and training of the intending Pilgrims on the Hajj rites.
‘’The programme is currently taking place at former Arabic Teachers College, Gombe, for Gombe local government and nearby communities, while other Pilgrims are receiving their own training at their various local government headquarters,’’ he said.
The executive secretary said the board has also gone to Saudi Arabia to make arrangements for accommodation, adding that they got decent hotels in Makkah along the famous Shari’i Hijra in Misfalla.
‘’As you may be aware, the Saudi Arabian Government, quashed all COVID-19 protocols, but is mandatory for each Pilgrim to present vaccine Certificate.
‘’The challenges before us now on this year’s Hajj is the crisis in Sudan because the shortest route to Saudi Arabia from Nigeria is through Sudan airspace.
‘’We pray that Almighty Allah will bring an end to the crisis before we start airlift of our Pilgrims. If not, the journey of four and half hours will increase to seven and half hours which may lead to increase of Air fare.’’
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