8th October, 2010
The Federal Government may spend about N14 billion on Muslims who will attend this yearâ€™sÂ pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, sources at the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON),Â have said.
It was gathered that although 95, 000 Muslims in the country will take part in thisÂ yearâ€™s Hajj as the pilgrimage is known, the Federal Government will sponsor 26, 235Â pilgrims.
Sources said that it will cost between N460, 000 and N540, 000 to sponsor each pilgrimÂ for this yearâ€™s Hajj. The total amount to spend on 26, 235 pilgrims will be between N12Â billion and N14 billion.
â€œThe number of pilgrims for this yearâ€™s Hajj is 95,000 and the government will sponsorÂ 26,235. The allocation of Hajj seat for the states and officials under Saudi Arabia RoyalÂ Embassy in Abuja for us this year is 95,000 and this includes the Medical team, theÂ Security and the Welfare team. As I am talking to you now, the Saudi Arabia Embassy hasÂ issued about 15, 077 visas to some pilgrims and the issuance still continues,â€™â€™ theÂ source said.
P.M.NEWS gathered that out of the total number allotted to the country, there are 10,000Â special slots being given out to some wealthy citizens.
It was learnt that Niger State has the largest contingent of pilgrims for this yearâ€™sÂ Hajj with 4,322 pilgrims. Lagos State follows with 3,896 pilgrims and Federal CapitalÂ Territory (FCT) has 3,115.
The states with the smallest pilgrims are Ebonyi State, with just 8 pilgrims. Abia,Â Adamawa and Akwa-Ibom States have 50 pilgrims each.
P.M.NEWS learnt that the first flight to Saudi Arabia from Nigeria will take off onÂ Friday, 15 October 2010.
After the pilgrimage, the last batch of the pilgrims will return to the country onÂ Thursday, 16 December 2010.