A total of 7,440 intending pilgrims are to be transported to Saudi Arabia from Kaduna State for this year's hajj. Malam Yahuza Makarfi, the acting Executive Secretary of the state's Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, made the announcement in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Kaduna.
On fares, Makarfi said pilgrims on economy tickets would pay N61,173.50 and enjoy a Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) of $750 each. He said those on medium class tickets would pay N660,000 and collect BTA of 1,000 dollars while those on maximum class would N745,000 and enjoy BTA of $1,500.
He attributed the increase in this year's hajj fares to "the demolition of structures near the places of worship and the desire of the board to accommodate pilgrims closer to such critical places".
The secretary assured the intending pilgrims of security and comfort throughout the exercise.
Makarfi said the pilgrims from the state would enjoy a subsidy of N260.4 million from the state government, and that each of them would receive a rebate of N35,000.
He urged the pilgrims to reciprocate government's gesture by demonstrating high sense of patriotism, discipline and loyalty to constituted authorities. He also appealed to the intending pilgrims to offer special prayers for peace, unity and development of the country during the exercise. According to him, the airlines are Kabo, Max and Meridian Airlines. Makarfi said Yakowa approved the carriers after they had been duly screened by the board. He noted that the selection of the airlines was based on their performances in hajj operations over the years.