Hajj 2024: Scarcity of E-passports threatens Nigerian pilgrims

by admin

Hundreds of intending Nigerian pilgrims may miss this year’s Hajj due to scarcity of E-passport booklets.

Findings by Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) reveals that the scarcity of E-passport booklets is causing apprehension amongst the intending pilgrims, who are yet to submit their passports for documentation and processing of visa in their respective states Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards/Agencies. 

The authoritative report confirmed that many intending pilgrims, especially those from rural areas who have paid and captured, are yet to get their E-passports despite repeatedly being booked to come for them.

IHR also learnt that States and NAHCON have begun the issuance of visa for the 2024 Hajj intending pilgrims from Nigeria after delays encountered due to the confusion surrounding the exact Hajj fare.

An official of a local government Hajj office told IHR that about 350 indenting pilgrims across four local government areas in Kaduna and other Northwestern states are yet to get their passports, thus raising possibility of those pilgrims missing this year’s Hajj.

“As I am talking to you, over 80 of pilgrims from my Local Government alone have not gotten their e-passport booklets and time is running out. Saudi will soon close the visa portal which had been slated for 29th of April.

”It will be very sad if pilgrims were able to pay N6.5 million and at the end of the day miss the Hajj due to issue of E-passport booklets,” the source revealed.

Efforts to get the Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) proved abortive as his lines are switched off.

However, an officer told IHR on anonymity that the issue has to do with the newly introduced criteria that made it compulsory to link the National Identity Number ((NIN) numbers along with Indigeneship Certificate.

“You know, most of the intending pilgrims especially those from the rural areas have problem of NIN.

For instance, in Katsina State some pilgrims who had made their full payments have not get the E passport booklets.

“Though, we initially had serious challenges of E-passport because many of our pilgrims could not secure their passports. As I am speaking to you, many of them have secured their passports but quite a few numbers are still hanging and this is becoming very worrisome,” another state Hajj official confided in IHR.

IHR also gathered that NAHCON management is making frantic efforts to resolve the challenge to enable intending pilgrims that paid up their fares perform the religious obligation.

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