Pilgrims prepare to pray and stay overnight in tents in Mina, about seven km from Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, Sept. 22, 2015. According to the rigid Hajj schedule, pilgrims will pray and stay overnight in tents of Mina, before moving on to Arafat, a barren and plain land some 20 km east of Mecca, and then to Muzdalifah, an area between Arafat and Mina, to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice. (Xinhua/Min Junqing) (djj)
Pilgrims prepare to pray and stay overnight in tents in Mina, about seven km from Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, Sept. 22, 2015. According to the rigid Hajj schedule, pilgrims will pray and stay overnight in tents of Mina, before moving on to Arafat, a barren and plain land some 20 km east of Mecca, and then to Muzdalifah, an area between Arafat and Mina, to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice. (Xinhua/Min Junqing) (djj)

A group called Independent Hajj Reporters has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to urgently, look into the issue of scarcity of E-passport booklets in some immigration offices across the county.

According to the group, the scarcity of E-passport is affecting the 2018 hajj pilgrims registration process and is therefore calling on all concerned CSOs to urgently ensure the availability of the passport.

Findings by the group revealed that, immigration offices in states like Kaduna, Abuja, Osun and Kano have no standard categories of E-passport in stock as intending pilgrims are told to capture their biometric data and come back later for the passport.

International passport is a hajj registration and visa requirement as contained in the guidelines issued by NAHCON for the requirements of pilgrims by state pilgrims boards.

In a release signed by the National Co-odinator IHR, Ibrahim Muhammad, it explained that NAHCON set April ending as the deadline for the 2018 hajj pilgrims registration deadline. Thus, the scarcity of E-passport booklets would prevent intending pilgrims from being registered by their respective States pilgrims board.

However, Saudi Arabia has made the biometric registration compulsory for Umrah and Hajj pilgrims. It is therefore not possible to attain it without the E-passport.

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