Nigerian Pilgrims To Pay Extra N1.9m For 2024 Hajj As NAHCON Sets March 28 Deadline 🎊 The Scoper Media

Intending pilgrims that still wish to participate in the 2024 Hajj are by this release advised to proceed and pay a balance of N1,918,032.91 latest by 11:59 pm of 28th March 2024. The Commission will shut down its system by 29th March and no other payment would be accommodated after.

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Pilgrims of the Nigerian Armed Forces

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 The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) appreciates the high level of understanding and concern that have been demonstrated to it publicly and privately over the 2024 Hajj fare dilemma it has plunged in. This show of support gives the Commission hope that stakeholders would leave no stone unturned for the success of the forthcoming Hajj exercise. At this juncture, the Commission finds it imperative to give clarity regarding the 2024 Hajj fare arrangements.

It is widely acknowledged that Hajj preparation follows a strict time line. As for the 2024 Hajj, the preparatory time line released by Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah began earlier than usual and is expected to end before its normal timing. NAHCON endeavored to adhere to the schedule outlined by the Ministry.

However, non to late remittances of Hajj fare by those concerned necessitated adjustments, resulting in two date shifts with the final being 12th of February 2024. Recall that as at 31st December 2023, Naira was still at N897:00 to a Dollar at the banks.These shifts unfortunately pushed the Hajj fare collection deadline to fall after harmonization of foreign exchange rates, presenting a new and significant challenge.

What the harmonization meant in the Hajj fare equation was that in the face of global financial challenges, coupled with the new forex policy, Nigerian pilgrims would now be saddled with an unexpected increase in Hajj cost, despite having already paid the fixed fare of about N4.9 million, depending on the departure zone as approved by government.

Federal Government saw wisdom in deliberately intervening on behalf of the Nigerian intending pilgrims through various strategies including persuading cost reductions. Unfortunately, the interventions could not cover the entire number that had met the final registration deadline. This had remained the Commission’s dilemma. To make matters worse, now about 50,000 pilgrims under the Public Quota have paid the hitherto announced fare of about N4.9million and their payments are currently under the custody of the Commission.

Considering the urgency of the situation, NAHCON was forced to explore various options, including encouraging State Governments and affluent individuals to intervene on behalf of their pilgrims. This window still remains open. This will compliment the intervention of the Federal Government that went the extra mile to support the Nigerian Muslim pilgrims in the discharge of their religious obligation. Commendably, government’s policy focus of bringing down the exchange rate has given the Hajj fare reduction a boost.

The good news now is that with Naira having appreciated to N1,474.00 to a Dollar over the preceding week and after due consultation with stakeholders, coupled with NAHCON’s desire to ensure equitable spread of the Federal Government’s intervention to all the already registered pilgrims whose payments have been received, the Commission resolved that each pilgrim would now have to pay a balance of N1,918,032.91 in accordance with the current foreign exchange rate.

Intending pilgrims that still wish to participate in the 2024 Hajj are by this release advised to proceed and pay a balance of N1,918,032.91 latest by 11:59 pm of 28th March 2024. The Commission will shut down its system by 29th March and no other payment would be accommodated after.

Affected pilgrims are advised to visit their respective state pilgrims boards to confirm their status. Below is a table detailing number of pilgrims that have paid the Hajj fare according to states and they remain the number expected to benefit from the intervention:

S/N
STATES
ACTUAL NO.OF SEATS PAID FOR

1
ABIA

2
ADAMAWA
1,767

3
A/IBOM

4
ANAMBRA

5
BAUCHI
2,290

6
BAYELSA
13

7
BENUE
87

8
BORNO
1,780

9
C/RIVER
0

10
DELTA
40
11
EBONYI
13
12
EDO
265
13
EKITI
186
14
ENUGU
18
15
FCT,ABUJA
2,489
16
GOMBE
1,262
17
IMO
98
18
JIGAWA
1,260
19
KADUNA
4,656
20
KANO
2,906
21
KATSINA
2,654
22
KEBBI
3,344
23
KOGI
13
24
KWARA
3,100
25
LAGOS
1,857
26
NASARAWA
1,866
27
NIGER
3,200
28
OGUN
925

29
ONDO
491
30
OSUN
1,548
31
OYO
1,047
32
PLATEAU
1,345
33
RIVERS
42
34
SOKOTO
3,563
35
TARABA
1,000
36
YOBE
1,290
37
ZAMFARA
1,596
38
ARMED FORCES
403

TOTAL
48,414

However, any new registration for 2024 Hajj from today, 24th of March will attract the full sum of N8,225, 464.74 from the Adamawa/Borno axis. From the North zone,fresh depositors will pay N8, 254, 464.74 whereas fresh payments from the Southern zone will attract N8, 454, 464.74 as Hajj fare. All categories are to pay within the same deadline.

While the Commission regrets the short notice, it has become inevitable due to Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s stern warning to Nigeria regarding the delay in adhering to the Hajj arrangement framework. Before now, NAHCON had pleaded for an extension which had been reluctantly granted and now the Ministry’s patience is wearing thin.

As for those who wish to withdraw their registration for the 2024 Hajj, they are advised to formally request for refund from their states which will be treated with all seriousness.

The next four days are crucial for stakeholders, especially those willing to intervene in support of their pilgrims, to take necessary actions and ensure smooth Hajj arrangements.

NAHCON remains committed to facilitating the pilgrimage experience for Nigerian Muslims and seeks cooperation from all parties involved.

Fatima Sanda Usara,
Assistant Director, Public Affairs,
NAHCON
24th March 2024