The state government will subsidise accommodation for the pilgrims.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has allocated 6,450 seats to Sokoto State for the 2013 Hajj, top official of the pilgrims agency has said.
The Chairman, Sokoto State Pilgrims Welfare Agency (PWA), Muntari Maigona, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Sokoto on Saturday.
He said that Governor Aliyu Wamakko had approved over N25 million for the provision of computers and other accessories for the establishment of ultra-modern ICT-compliant Hajj registration centres. He said that the centres would be operated in the 23 local government areas of the state.
He said that part of the funds would be used for the intensive training of the Hajj registration officials in the state to ensure success of the ongoing biometric registration of all prospective pilgrims.
Mr. Maigona said that all the seats had since been distributed to the 23 local government areas for onward sales to the prospective pilgrims.
According to the Chairman, “Gov. Aliyu Wamakko has given us the approval for the distribution of the allocated hajj seats to the local governments.
“Gada and Sokoto North Local Governments got the highest number of 480 seats each while Gudu got the least number of 90 seats,” he added.
He said that the agency had taken adequate measures to prevent the recurrence of the problem of lack of male escorts “muharrams’’ for the female pilgrims.
“This was the problem that made the Saudi authorities to return some female pilgrims back to Nigeria during the 2012 hajj. We thank God that all of them were later taken back after the resolution of the problem and they performed the hajj.
“But in Sokoto State this year, we will not even register any female intending pilgrim who has no escort or muharram,” he said.
Mr. Maigona said that a committee would be set up by the agency to screen all the prospective pilgrims to ensure “they are not too old or too sick” to perform the Hajj.
He stated that the state government had since secured a befitting accommodation for the state’s prospective pilgrims in Makkah, closer to the Holy Mosque.
“As usual, the accommodation will be highly subsidised by the state government.
“The state government in 2012 made a similar gesture to the tune of over N400 million,” the chairman added. (NAN)