Kaduna — The Kaduna State House of Assembly has called on the state government to adopt what it called the bi-annual registration of intending pilgrims of the state, as well as bi-annual hajj saving scheme.
The call was made yesterday when the House Committee on Hajj and Islamic Affairs presented its report on the need for bi-annual registration of intending pilgrims on the floor of the Assembly.
Chairman of the committee, Yunusa Garba Turawa, said the bi-annual hajj saving scheme if adopted would give low income earners including civil servants, petty traders and peasant farmers who are wishing to undertake the religious obligation the opportunity to do so by paying installmentally for a period of two years.
Speaking further, Turawa said the new scheme entails that an intending pilgrim is registered two years to the time he/she will perform the pilgrimage.
"He will be required to pay a certain percentage of the total cost of seat for the current year as first instalment and the remaining balance will be staggered for payment within the next 15 to 18 months," he said.
He noted that the scheme will avail intending female pilgrims the opportunity to regulate their conceptions which will further reduce cases of pregnant female pilgrims with its related consequences as well as give intending pilgrims ample time to learn about hajj rites and other related issues.
"With the new scheme, the pilgrims' board will have enough funds ready for remittance to the National Hajj Commission as at when due, thereby reducing the threat of sanctions and penalties resulting from late or non-remittance. It is also capable of generating interest from the savings account," he said.
While the committee urged the state government to, before the commencement of the new scheme, ensure intensive training for staff of the board and the use of workshops to sensitize members of the public on the operations of the scheme, it advised that a training centre be established in each of the three senatorial zones in the state for regular training of board's staff and intending pilgrims.