Kwara, Kaduna, Gombe are among states that have commenced biometric data capturing exercise for intending pilgrims to 2019 Hajj.
Other states where the mandatory exercise for the issuance of a visa for all intending pilgrims have commenced include Bauchi, Kano, Zamfara and Niger states.
Recall that late data capturing nearly marred the 2018 hajj as most states failed to complete the exercise on schedule.
The decision to complete the exercise as scheduled was reached early this year after a special meeting convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Amb. of Saudi Arabia to Nigeria, Mr Adnan bin Mahmoud Bostaji and NAHCON, led by its Chairman, Abdullahi Muhammad.
According to sources, states that have completed the biometric data capturing exercise have taken the lead in the mandatory process.
However, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and a few others are still battling with the registration of intending pilgrims.
Meanwhile, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has commended the seven states for early preparation, adding that early biometric registration is essential to forestall last-minute rush, a situation that could lead to panic.
In a statement signed by the Head, Public Affairs Division of the commission, Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NAHCON, Barr. Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, however, expressed appreciation to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Mr. Adnan Bostaji and the Kingdom’s Consulate in Kano for facilitating early commencement of the biometric data registration.
The NAHCON helmsman also acknowledged VHS Tasheel for their preparedness in starting the process immediately.
He commended the state boards currently performing the exercise for their cooperation. Muhammad urged other state pilgrims? boards to emulate those states that have fulfilled all registration requirements which enabled them to begin the data-capturing programme for their pilgrims. Early biometric registration is essential to forestall last-minute rush, forcing intending pilgrims into panic mode.
He urged intending pilgrims to complete their payments in order to avoid delay and other consequence of late payment.