By Mumini AbdulKareem
The Kwara State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board yesterday said it had fixed today (Thursday), as deadline for ongoing immunisation for all the intending pilgrims for the 2017 Hajj.
The Executive Secretary, Alhaji Mohamned Tunde-Jimoh disclosed this yesterday in Ilorin, the state capital while briefing journalists on the decision of the board over the issue.
He said there will not be room for any extension of the deadline for the exercise intended for all the pilgrims.
He therefore advised intending pilgrims yet to be immunised to be at the Hajj camp, llorin West Local Government secretariat road as from 8:00am.
He warned that any intending pilgrim who failed to take part in the immunisation will forfeit his or her seat.
According to him “Thursday (today) is the deadline for the immunisation of the intending pilgrims.
“As a point of emphasis, we are not going to have any extension of the directive and anyone that refused to submit himself/herself for the immunisation will automatically forfeit their seat.
“My advice therefore, is for those concerned to ensure they arrive on time for the exercise which will commence from 8:00am”, he added.
In a related development, the Independent Hajj Reporters, a civil society organisation, has called for mass enlightenment campaign to persuade intending pilgrims to register to enable Nigeria utilise its 2017 hajj seat allocation.
The country risks losing its allocation quota in subsequent years if it fails to fill up its 2017 quota, a statement by the National Coordinator of the group, Ibrahim Muhammed, and Publicity Secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud, said.
“We are calling on NAHCON, States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Agencies, hajj service providers, the media and hajj NGOs to embark on grass root campaign to encourage Nigerian intending pilgrims to expedite their hajj registration in order to avoid the consequences of Nigeria not utilising its 2017 hajj seat quota,” it said.
Nigeria’s quota currently stands at 95,000; made up of 75,000 states pilgrims and 20,000 for Tour Operators.
“Of the 75, 000 allocated to states, only 51, 000 has been utilised leaving 19, 000 seats unsold. The slow response of pilgrims is being attributed to the hope of possible government’s intervention of granting lower exchange rate to reduce the 2017 hajj fare,” the civil society said.
“The consequences of not utilising our hajj seats quota this year are many: Saudi Arabia Hajj authority may reduce next year’s hajj seats quota to the exact number of this year’s hajj seats sold,” the group said.