A total of 700 intending Christians pilgrims were screened in Jos on Thursday and certified fit for the religious exercise in Israel, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Our correspondent, who covered the exercise, reports that the intending pilgrims assembled as early as 7.00 a.m. for the exercise, which began around 9.00 a.m. at the state’s Christian Welfare Board.
Among the screening personnel were the board’s medical team and the national commission’s officials, who checked the health status and traveling documents of the intending pilgrims.
Mr. Ibrahim Kafi, the Board’s Executive Secretary, told NAN after the exercise that it was "very smooth" and "successful".
"We are happy that the intending pilgrims have availed themselves for the screening, which is a vital criterion for qualification to perform the pilgrimage.
"We have not recorded any hitch; by the grace of God, the exercise shall be concluded successfully," he said.
"We are optimistic that before or at the middle of next month, the exercise will start."
According to him, the eight months Local Government workers’ strike in the state last year affected the state’s preparation for the 2012 exercise.
"Sometime in December, we invited all intending pilgrims to come for screening, but they could not find their way to our secretariat because there were barricades at places like Shendam, Pankshin, Mangu.
"Such barricades were set up by aggrieved striking workers and that made movement very difficult."
So far, 500 persons have performed the exercise out of the 1,200 people approved by the Plateau Government.