Daily Trust reported yesterday that following the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria’s (NAHCON) decision to increase the 2024 hajj fare by N1.9 million, many intending pilgrims have requested refunds from state Muslim pilgrims’ welfare boards,Daily Trust reports.

Simultaneously, prominent civil society organizations and stakeholders urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene to prevent the potential failure of this year’s hajj.

NAHCON announced on Sunday the fare increase for this year’s pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia by N1,918,032.91, setting a deadline of March 28, 2024. This decision came as a surprise to many intending pilgrims who had already paid a deposit of N4.9 million, based on an earlier announcement in December 2023.

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Intending pilgrims were advised to pay the additional amount by the deadline, with NAHCON stating that no further payments would be accepted after March 29.

However, many intending pilgrims were shocked by the announcement and have approached pilgrim boards across the country to seek refunds as they cannot afford the additional N1.9 million.

In Kano, uncertainty prevails among intending pilgrims regarding the actual fare for the 2024 hajj. The Kano State Pilgrims’ Board is yet to decide on the matter, with discussions ongoing to reach an agreement.

Similarly, in Kwara State, sources at the pilgrims’ board reported numerous requests for refunds from intending pilgrims who stated they could not raise the balance.

In Lagos, a mixture of intending pilgrims sought refunds, citing their inability to make the additional payment, while others attempted to complete the payment.

Civil society organization Independent Hajj Reporters called on the federal and state governments to intervene to prevent a potential decline in Nigerian hajj participation, warning that Nigerian pilgrims might miss the opportunity to perform this year’s hajj.

Furthermore, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) cautioned hajj operators against charging intending pilgrims above the current exchange rate, urging a reduction in the exchange rate to ensure fairness.

Former Commissioner for Home Affairs in Lagos State, Mohammed Oyinlomo Danmole, also appealed to the president to address the high cost of hajj.

Former National Commissioner with NAHCON, Prof. Lanre Badmus, advised intending pilgrims against taking loans to complete the hajj fare, suggesting that those unable to afford the additional amount should hold onto their deposit for a future opportunity.


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