The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, says no fewer than 17,000 intending pilgrims for this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia had been registered in its biometric data capturing system as at July 19.
It said in a statement by Fatima Usara, Head, Public Affairs, NAHCON, that over 5,000 visas had also been issued within the period.
It said that the registration was provided free by the Saudi Arabian authorities for only intending pilgrims, adding that any pilgrim who paid for the service should return to the centre for refunds.
“Intending pilgrims are also advised, for avoidance of speculations and distrust that there are other biometric data capturing candidates that are not pilgrims but are legitimately travelling to Saudi Arabia for their different purposes,” it said.
The statement said that the data registration was progressing steadily and advised prospective pilgrims to be patient by waiting for their turn before presenting themselves for the exercise.
“This is important to maintain orderliness, prevent stress and stick to the arrangement on ground to accommodate specific number of people at a time.”
Meanwhile, the first batch of 445 Nigerian pilgrims from Kogi arrived in Madinah on Saturday aboard the inaugural flight for the pilgrimage.
An advance team of medical officials, feeding and accommodation committees had earlier arrived in Saudi Arabia to ahead of the inaugural flight.