The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has released stringent conditions that must be met by intending pilgrims to qualify them for the holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for the 2017 Hajj exercise.

Some of the conditions are basically meant to tackle the menace of drug-trafficking and abscondment during Hajj and were reached during the review of 2016 Hajj between NAHCON and the chief executive officers of state Hajj boards in Abuja.

Spokesman of the commission Uba Mana said in a statement that the recently held meeting also recalled the sad memory of victims of the twin tragedies of 2015 Hajj and condoled with the state governors and families of those affected.

“From the 2017 Hajj, intending pilgrims would now be required to produce highly placed citizens who must be chief Imam of Jum’at Mosque within the pilgrim’s vicinity, court bailiff, traditional ruler or a civil servant not below grade level 12 at the federal or state service,” Mana said.

 He said intending pilgrims are also required to commence installment payments of N250,000 for 2017 Hajj fare from December to April to make up N1,250,000.00  pending when the official fares for the Hajj would be announced.

The Chairman of the commission Mukhtar Abdullahi Muhammad commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for their supports and guidance to the successful and hitch-free 2016 Hajj exercise.

On his part the commissioner in charge of policy, personnel management and finance (PPMF), Alhaji Yusuf Adebayo Ibrahim said refunds would be made to state boards by the commission for any of the services the pilgrims were not given and for those who could not travel for any reason, Daily Trust reports.

It was noted that compensations for the victims of the 2015 tragedies have not been released by the Saudi Arabia government, though the Saudi government has assured that it will be released through appropriate channels after all due consultations and arrangements have been concluded.

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