Zamfara State government says incessant activities of bandits has led to the State’s Pilgrims Board recording low turnout of intending pilgrims for the 2019 Hajj.
The Chairman of the state pilgrims welfare board, Malam Abubakar Sarkin-Pawa, said this on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the security challenges in the state has negatively affected the number of intending pilgrims.
“Yes, the security challenges somehow affected the turnout of pilgrims from Zamfara because if you could remember in 2016 we had 5,000 pilgrims from Zamfara state, in 2017 we airlifted 4,000 pilgrims.
“Now we are coming down to 1,500 pilgrims. You know most of the people that paid their hajj fare are nomadic Fulani and greater percentage of them is coming from the rural areas and they are affected by this security challenges,” he said.
Sarkin-Pawa said that the state government had ensured that adequate security was provided to ensure safety of the pilgrims within and outside the hajj camp in Gusau, the state capital.
“You know, our hajj camp is located at the centre of Gusau and you know Gusau is safe because it never had any strike from the bandits.
“We engage relevant security agencies such as the police, army and other security agencies, they are supported by the state government, to escort our pilgrims even on transit from camp to airport,” he said.
He, however, said that the board had engaged the council of ulamas that would educate the pilgrims on the need to conduct themselves in an orderly manner while in the Holyland.