By Haroon Balogun
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has said that the Saudi Arabian authorities have granted President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to decentralize bio-metric capturing of intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
This gesture however come with no financial implication.
The chairman of NAHCON, Barr Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, who disclosed this to newsmen recently said the President personally wrote to the Saudi government to either shelve the biometric capturing till 2019 hajj preparation or discentralised the system owing to the complexities the limited bio-metric centres in the country had created.
He stated that the Saudi Arabian authorities acceeded to the decentralisation system by establishing data capturing centres across the states of the federation for intending pilgrims in their various states.
“You will recall that sometimes ago Mr President personally signed a letter and he dispatched a Special Envoy to Saudi Arabia to request for a special consideration for Nigerian pilgrims on the biometric capturing which was introduced by Saudi Government.
“The request of Mr President was granted by the Saudi Arabian government – now the biometric capturing will be in all the states of the federation that have pilgrims to perform the hajj.
“More importantly the biometric capturing is free, no payment is attached.
“So, wherever the pilgrims are going for their capturing they should make sure that they don’t pay anything and where money is requested they should decline and states’ boards or travel agents that had probably collected certain amount for the biometric should refund the money,” he said.
He observed that the granting of President Buhari’s request by the Saudi Arabian government was a clear indication of good relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.