by Agency Reporter
A total of 95,000 Muslim pilgrims from Nigeria are to perform the 2012 Hajj.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammad Bello, Chairman, National Hajj Commission, said this on Thursday at a meeting with the Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje-led House Committee on Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
Bello, who briefed the committee on the 2011 Hajj, said the update on arrangements was necessary so as to have a hitch free exercise.
He said the number was 4,000 lower than the allocation Nigeria got in 2011, adding that 10,000 of the figure were allotted to private Hajj operators in the country while the commission and the state pilgrim boards would share the remaining 85,000 slots.
The NAHCON boss, who attributed the shortfall to lack of space and facilities in the Holy land, said the commission was still in talks with the Saudi authorities on the possibility of getting more slots to cater for the huge requests for Hajj seats in the country.
In the allocation for the 2012 Hajj, Bello said the least number of 80 slots went to Abia, while Kaduna State had the highest of 7,560 and Kano State, 6,778.
On the transportation of pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia, he said the first Hajj flight would depart Nigeria by September 18 while the last flight would leave the country on October 17 as the Jeddah airport would online casino be closed by October 21.
On return the schedule, he said since Arafat Day was likely to hold on October 25, the first return flight would leave Saudi Arabia for Nigeria on November 1, while the last would be November 30.
Bello told the committee that arrangements for 2012 Hajj was better than that of 2011 as Saudi authorities would allowed 25 per cent of Nigeria pilgrims to land straight in the Holy City of Madina.
He said states had started paying their remittances to enable the Commission which transportation, accommodation and health care delivery of pilgrims while in Saudi Arabia.
He warned that any state which failed to remit payments by June 1, would lose the allotted seats which would be re-allocated to other willing states.
The chairman said some states were penalised for some misconducts during the 2011 Hajj by losing some seats, adding that 536 seats were recovered and redistributed to those states that complied with the law.
Chairman of the Committee, Elendu-Ukeje, said the briefing of the commission was convincing enough that it was ready, but hoped that it would be translated to a hitch free Hajj.
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