The Executive Secretary of Kwara State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Tunde Jimoh has disclosed that no fewer than 500 intending pilgrims have been registered so far.
In an interview with Pilot Aviation on Friday, he said the board has commenced online registration for the 2019 pilgrimage, adding that the state has been given 2,221 slots by National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) for next year.
He said: “We have commenced the online registration for intending pilgrims that want to travel with us. They have to apply online through our website.
“People have started applying and presently close to 500 intending pilgrims have registered. And close to 300 people have paid.
“Apart from the registration we have been directed to collect N1.5 million but due to the economic downturn we have decided to step it down to N1.3 million as deposit.
“Immediately after successful registration by intending pilgrims, we’re going to invite him or her for a light screening to know the person we are dealing with physically,” he explained.
On the inaugural flight, Jimoh said, the hajj operation will begin early July next year.
“So, we have only five months for preparation and intending pilgrims have to be ready two months before departure to the holy land of Saudi Arabia.
“The Saudi authority has directed Nigerians to start preparation and NAHCON has directed all the states to begin registration so that we can meet up with the exercise early enough for smooth operations.
The secretary noted that all the rules and regulations guiding the pilgrimage will still be sustained, adding that pregnant women and sick persons are excluded from the exercise while the aged must be accompanied.
He however stressed that there would be strict screening of potential pilgrims by security agents at the airport, warning them against carrying contrabands along with them.