Barely a month to the closure of collection of 2018 Hajj fares, only 700 intending pilgrims in Katsina State have deposited money for the journey since the beginning of the exercise in November 2017.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a total of 4,930 seats were allocated to the state in 2017 and fare paid for the least seat was N1.49 million.
Already the board had announced N300, 000 as the minimum deposit to be paid by intending pilgrim pending announcement of the full fare by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria.
The Executive Director, Katsina State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Muhammad Abu-Rimi, confirmed the figure on Wednesday in Katsina at a meeting on preparations for the hajj.
Abu-Rimi, however, said in spite of the seeming set back, the board was pressing ahead with preparations.
He stressed that the March 15 deadline for collection of deposit for the pilgrimage still stands and urged intending pilgrims to intensify efforts toward meeting the deadline.
Abu-Rimi revealed that officials of the board had made several trips to Saudi Arabia to secure better accommodation at both Makkah and Madina for pilgrims from the state.
He also said that series of meetings were held with Saudi Arabian Government and NAHCON on ways to make this year’s exercise a success.
In his remarks, the board Chairman, Alhaji Salisu Shinkafi, said the meeting was aimed at designing an operation strategy for a hitch-free Hajj.
Shinkafi said observations and suggestions offered by Governor Aminu Masari on last year’s operations would be implemented to ensure success of the operation.
He solicited the cooperation of the entire board members and staff as well as other stakeholders to ensure success.