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Increased Hajj fare: CSO cautions pilgrims against seeking refund

By admin Mar 27, 2024
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Ododo lauds Kogi officials for clearing 460 candidates

 

Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) has called on intending pilgrims for the 2024 Hajj to avoid the temptation of seeking refund of their deposits, in view of the sudden increase of N1.9 million.

 

This was as Kogi State Governor, Ahmed Ododo, has commended the state’s hajj commission for becoming the first to effect full contribution to the Hajj Savings Scheme by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to secure clearance for 460 pilgrims from the state for the pilgrimage to Makkah.

IHR, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Ibrahim Mohammed, yesterday, worried that hundreds of intending pilgrims, who were rather at loss with the latest development, were left with no alternative.

NAHCON, on Sunday, announced a fresh fare increase, few months after pilgrims had completed their N4.9 million final deposits, attributing the development to increasing volatility of exchange rate of dollar to naira.

It stated: “IHR findings, through our members across the country and discussions held with some state Hajj officials, indicate that quite a number of pilgrims have started asking for their deposits back.

“Our findings also show that while some are asking for their deposits out of anger, others are saying they cannot raise the balance of N1.9 million within four days. It also revealed that some pilgrims were contemplating exploring legal options, insisting that the Federal Government, through NAHCON, had announced a final hajj fare of N4.699 million, which they had paid in full within the stipulated time.”

The pilgrims argued that their receipt bears ‘complete payment for 2024 hajj’ and therefore vow to ensure they are taken to Saudi Arabia to perform 2024 Hajj, The Guardian gathered.

The civil society organisation (CSO), however, advised the intending pilgrims not to rush into taking decisions out of anger and always give space for positive outcomes.

 

SPECIAL Adviser on Media to Kogi Governor, Ismaila Isah, disclosed the governor’s commendation following reports by Kogi Hajj Commission on increment in the 2024 Hajj fares and how the state managed to secure subsidy for its pilgrims on account of the 100 per cent contribution to the Hajj Savings Scheme by the pilgrims.

The governor, who expressed satisfaction with the level of preparation by the state’s Hajj Commission, praised the immediate past administration of Yahaya Bello for approving the participation of the state in the contributory Hajj Savings Scheme two years ago, stressing that his administration would sustain and consolidate on the gains of the scheme.

Ododo also commended President Bola Tinubu for his intervention by providing subsidy for Nigerian Muslim pilgrims, who were distressed by the increase in the 2024 Hajj fares, assuring that his administration would continue to partner NAHCON to ease the burden of pilgrims from Kogi through the contributory Hajj Savings Scheme in the state.

Increase in the 2024 Hajj fare caused by foreign exchange differentials resulted in over N1.9 million extra charges per pilgrim in Nigeria with only Kogi now fully cleared of the over N800 million that should have been paid by its over 460 pilgrims.

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