Imam Hussaini Tsoho-Ikara, acting executive secretary, Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board says farmers are turning out in large number to pay for 2017 Hajj fare.
Tsoho-Ikara told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria on Sunday that the development was contrary to what happened during the 2016 Haji.
He attributed the new development to 2016 bumper harvest which enabled farmers to make more money.
“The patronage of Hajj seats from rural farmers this year outnumbered the intending pilgrims from urban centres.
“From our record, grassroots farmers have already dominated the payment of Hajj seats for 2017 operation compared to people living in cities,’’ he said.
Tsoho-Ikara said prices of farm produce had been on the increase since a ban was placed on the importation of some food items by the present administration.
According to him, farmers are making more money from their produce last year; a Nigerian farmer is now a king with this new development.
The acting executive secretary said that the National Hajj Commission (NHC) had not fixed the amount of money to be paid by intending pilgrims for this year Hajji.
The board, however, had fixed N800, 000 and N1.2 million as minimum and maximum amount respectively that would be deposited by intending pilgrims.
According to him, when the actual amount is fixed, the intending pilgrims will have to pay the remaining amount.
Tsoho-Ikara said the board had put an end to the activities of quacks by ensuring that intending pilgrims paid directly to the board’s account.
“The measure becomes necessary in enhancing the integrity of the board and to block the chances of defrauding intending pilgrims.
“The board officials are to collect cash or bank draft directly from intending pilgrims and whoever wants to pay for Hajj seat must come to our office himself.
“Such intending pilgrims should come with valid international passport and he/she must register with the name on the passport, not any other name.
“When he/she satisfies all these, then a customised teller of specific banks will be issued, so that payment into the board’s account is not tempered with.’’
Tsoho-Kargi appealed to intending pilgrims to strictly comply and support the new initiative with a view to eradicate shoddy deals in the entire Hajj operation. (NAN)