The Lagos State Government has opened five registration centres preparatory to the commencement of the Unified Pilgrims Electronic Registration System (UPERS). The new electronic registration process introduced by the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON), is a condition for the issuance of hajj visa to intending 2013 hajj pilgrims and will be conducted in centres spread within the five divisions of the state.
According to a release from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture, the centres and the Local Governments/LCDAs are as follows:
Ojo Local Government Secretariat covers Ojo, Olorunda, Iba, Oto-Awori, Badagry, Badagry West, Oriade, Ajeromi, Ifelodun and Amuwo ;while Kosofe Local Government Secretariat has Kosofe, Agboyi-Ketu, Ikosi-Isheri, Shomolu, Bariga, Ikorodu, Ikorodu North, Ikorodu West, Igbogbo-Bayeku, Ijede and Imota.
Those under Ikeja (Muslim Pilgrims Board Office) are Ikeja, Ojodu, Onigbongbo, Agege, Orile-Agege, Alimosho, Agbado-OkeOdo, Mosun-Okunola, Igando-Ikotun, Egbe-Idimu, Ayobo-Ipaja, Oshodi, Isolo, Ejigbo, Mushin, Odi Olowo-Ojuwoye, Ifako-Ijaiye and Ojokoro.
SurulereLocal Government Secretariat also has Surulere, Coker-Aguda, Itire-Ikate, Lagos Island, Lagos Island East, Lagos Island West, Lagos Mainland, Yaba, Apapa and Apapa-Iganmu. While Eti-Osa, Eti-Osa West, Eti-Osa East, Ikoyi-Obalende, Iru/Victoria Island, Epe, Ikosi-Ejirin, Eredo, Ibeju-Lekki and Ibeju are under Eti-Osa Local Government Secretariat
The statement explained that the new system is meant to ease the process of hajj registration, enhance synergy of hajj operations and reduce the inconvenience faced by majority of intending pilgrims, especially those who live outside the city centre. All intending pilgrims who were screened and adjudged fit for the 2013 hajj are, therefore, required to visit the centres assigned to their local government areas for the Unified Pilgrims Electronic Registration capturing.The State pilgrims Board has been directed by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to inform all intending pilgrims that all female pilgrims must be accompanied by a Muharam to forestall the repatriation of pilgrims experienced during the year 2012 hajj airlift.
The statement added that due to the on-going expansion of the holy mosque in Makka the slot allocated to nations, including Nigeria, has been affected with subsequent impact on allocations to States. Consequently, all intending pilgrims above 65 years of age must be accompanied by a younger relation while anyone with health challenges would not be allowed to perform this year’s hajj. It further disclosed that, NAHCON also directed that 80% of State allocation should be reserved for first time intending pilgrims, stressing that it would be implemented in the State to ensure the spread of the opportunity to those who are visiting the holy land for the first time.