News Agency of Nigeria

Intending Pilgrims from the South/South zone of Nigeria are now making Cross River State their choice of patronage for the 2020 Hajj exercise.

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NACHON) had towards the end of 2019 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia issued an operating licence to Cross River State to commence Hajj and Umrah Tour Operations.

As a result of this development, the state became the only state in the South South with such operating licence as at the time it was issued in August.

Chairman, Cross River Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Hassan Tanimu, while speaking with newsmen recently after the enlarge meeting between NACHON and state chairmen of pilgrims board, said “as at the last count, over 50 intending pilgrims from Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ebonyi and Abia states have indicated interest to follow Cross River contingent in 2020.

He said the intending pilgrims would have commenced payment for the exercise but for the directive of the National Hajj Commission on the payment procedures and 2020 rules of engagement guidelines on Hajj and Umrah operators.

Hassan said the achievements of the board was hinged on Governor Ben Ayade’s clear leadership direction and strategy of “putting your soul forward and your body will follow” which has helped the board to achieve so many things within the short period of time despite numerous challenges

He also commended the leadership of the Department of Religious Matters in Cross River State for being the parent body supervising the board activities in the state.

“If in less than one month after our return from Saudi Arabia, there are over 50 intending pilgrims already indicating interest to go with Cross River Pilgrims Welfare Board in 2020 Hajj exercise.

“You can imagine how many will be in another five to six months’ time. This is the selling point from Cross River State which I discussed with the Chairman during our meeting.”

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