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19 Jul 2017

Katsina Pilgrims Welfare Board secures 3,000 visas for 2017 pilgrims, Official says

The Katsina State Pilgrims Welfare Board said it had secured approval of 3,000 travel visas, out of the 4,930 intending pilgrims expected to perform the 2017 Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Alhaji Muhammadu Abu-Rimi, the Executive Director of the board, made the disclosure at the formal commencement of pilgrims’ orientation in Daura on Wednesday.

He said the National Hajj Commission had officially announced Sunday, July 30, as the official date for the commencement of transportation of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, nationwide.

‘‘Our remaining visas, 1, 930 for remaining intending pilgrims, will soon be processed,’’ he said.

Abu-Rimi further disclosed that the state government had secured befitting hotel accommodation closer to the two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina for the intending pilgrims.

The executive director stated that the board had also secured vehicles for pilgrims’ shuttle in the Holy land to ease their movements from one place to another.

‘‘We will provide free feeding and Sallah gift to our pilgrims.’’

He cautioned the intending pilgrims against carrying hard drugs, kolanut and other items declared illegal by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabian authorities.

The executive director, however, warned that whoever tried to violate the Saudi Arabian laws would have himself or herself to blame.

He explained that the orientation was aimed at sensitising intending pilgrims on the formal procedure of hajj, and enlighten them on the rules governing the conduct of the exercise.

Abu-Rimi lauded the efforts of the state government for early preparation and release of logistics for the proper commencement of the exercise.

The Zonal Officer of Daura Pilgrims Office, Alhaji Saminu Suleiman, also cautioned the intending pilgrims against frivolous spending while in the Holyland.

Suleiman also advised them shun frivolous spending, before and during the completion of the exercise, adding that the exercise could last for a minimum of 35 and maximum of 45 days.

He said his office would not condone instances of fraudulent complaints of missing Basic Travel Allowances (BTA) from the pilgrims.

Suleiman said each intending pilgrim’s allowance was 800 US dollars, adding that whoever allowed himself or herself to be shortchanged at the Bureau De -Change should not blame the board.

He, therefore, advised them not to be careless in handling their allowances to enable them have a hitch-free hajj.

In a related development, the Daura Local Government Hajj Officer, Lawal Na-Baba, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the 175 hajj seats allocated to the area had been exhausted.

‘‘All intending pilgrims have undergone security and medical screening to ascertain and determine their capabilities,’’ he said.

He also said the pilgrims’ orientation would last for six days, adding that intending pilgrims would be exposed to the theoretical and practical aspects of the exercise during the orientation.

NAN reports that Islamic clerics had commenced the 2017 pilgrims’ orientation across the 34 Local Government Areas to guide the pilgrims on the procedures of hajj.

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