Gombe State Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare board has said over 850 seats are yet to be paid for.

The board which is expected to have completed the capturing of the biometric data of its registered pilgrims, secured their visas and commenced airlifting of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia in this coming week made the disclosure on Friday.

The executive secretary of the board Usman Gurama told Bounce News that out of 2,050 seats allocated to Gombe by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria NAHCON, only 1200 have been paid for and registered.

"This is unlike last year's operation that we airlift 2,100 pilgrims to the holy land of Saudi Arabia, “he said.

When asked about what could have caused this year's low turnout, Gurama said it could be the economy situation in the country that is still manifesting. 

He said, "Because if you remember last year a bag of maize was sold for about N20,000 but this year a bag is still yet to hit even N10,000 in the market and you know most of the people who patronize us are farmers.

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He said even though the hajj seat this year was billed for 1.476 million naira as against the 1.550 million naira in 2017, the intending pilgrims still cannot afford it.

Gurama added that the registered pilgrims are undergoing biometric data capture after which their visas will be secured and airlifting of the pilgrims will commence.

Gombe state Muslim pilgrims’ welfare board may not be making use of the state Hajj Camp for camping it's pilgrims, this is because windstorm has raised down some part of the camp.

Assistance was expected from NAHCON as the commission promised to remodel the camp but could make it before the commencement of the 2018 Hajj operation.

The executive secretary of the board Alhaji Gurama is optimistic that the development will not affect the the operation.

He said that pilgrims will be transported straight from the board office to the airport.

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