Sen.Ndume urges FG, State Govts to subsidise hike in Hajj fee for first timers


By Aluta News

March 27, 2024

The Chief Whip of Senate, Sen. Ali Ndume has urged the Federal and State to intervene by subsidising the Hajj fare pegged at N5million, to enable first timers attend this year’s Hajj to the Holy Land.

Ndume made the call in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the recent hike of Hajj fee by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON)would pose a challenge, especially for intending first timers to participate in the exercise.

Ndume said pilgrims, who had earlier paid the old fee should not be compelled to pay additional fee, barely one week to the end of the registration.

He called on President Bola Tinubu, to approve the payment of the extra cost as subsidy to enable first timers attend Hajj.

He also called on state governments to foot the additional cost for intending pilgrims, who cannot pay the new fee.

Ndume said :“the sudden hike in the fees intending pilgrims are expected to pay by NAHCON is unfair.

“You cannot impose such on them,they had already paid ahead of time,If there is any changes, the burden should be on NAHCON and not on the intending pilgrims.

“Something urgent needs to be done about this, I urge President Bola Tinubu to approve the payment of the extra fee.

“This is the right thing to do in order to save the situation.

“I am also calling on states pilgrims to subsidise the fees of pilgrims, especially for first timers, Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and it is unfair to deny first timers the right to perform this spiritual exercise, especially after they have already paid the old fee set by NAHCON.

“I do not think it is fair to ask them to pay almost N2million again,many of the pilgrims saved up the money for many years to enable them participate in Hajj,you cannot deny such people the right to participate.

“I strongly believe that the right thing to do is to subsidise the fee and take the extra burden away from pilgrims, especially first timers who deserve to participate in this year’s Hajj exercise, we need to help them.”

NAN reports that NAHCON once again increased the rate for the 2024 Hajj citing foreign exchange rate adjustment.

About 49,000 pilgrims who had earlier paid the old fees of N4.9 million each to the commission are to pay an additional N1.9 million each on or before 28 March, while new registration has been fixed at N8.5 million.

This rate adjustment was contained in a statement issued by the spokesperson of the commission, Fatima Sanda-Usara, on Sunday.

Explaining the reason for the hike, the commission stated that the current rate of N1,474.00 to a dollar makes it imperative to make the adjustment.

“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 ofthe 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. 9milliom 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 latest by 11:59 p.m. of  March 28.

”The commission will shut down its system by March 29 and no other payment would be accommodated after,” the statement reads in part.

For new registration for the 2024 Hajj, NAHCON said intending pilgrims from northern states are to pay N8.2 million, while those from the south are to pay N8.4 million.

NAN reports that initially, the fare was fixed at N4.5 million against the N2.9 million pilgrims paid in 2023. Recently, it was increased to N4.9 million and finally to N8.5 million for fresh registration and N6.8 million for pilgrims with deposit.


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