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Civil Society Group Urges Govt’s Action To Secure Nigerian Pilgrims’ Participation In 2024 Hajj

In a bid to avert a potential crisis, the Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a prominent civil society organization (CSO), has called upon the federal and state governments to intervene by subsidizing hajj fares for Nigerian pilgrims, ensuring their participation in the upcoming 2024 pilgrimage.

The urgency of the situation arose after the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) announced a significant increase of N1.9 million to the hajj fare, with a mere four-day window provided for payment.

 This decision, following the initial approval of N4.9 million as the 2024 hajj fare, has raised concerns among intending pilgrims.

Ibrahim Mohammed, the coordinator of IHR, warned of a potential shortfall in pilgrim numbers unless immediate action is taken. 

Expressing dismay over NAHCON’s failure to meet the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj’s deadline for fund remittance, Mohammed emphasized the need for government intervention to avert a crisis.

“The short four-day deadline for payment of the additional fare is impractical, particularly for the majority of pilgrims who are farmers,” Mohammed stated. 

He highlighted the logistical challenges faced by Muslim pilgrim welfare boards in disseminating the information and collecting the additional funds.

Mohammed further emphasized the critical role of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in providing support without imposing further financial burdens on pilgrims. 

Failure to do so, he cautioned, could result in Nigeria sending fewer than 10,000 pilgrims out of the allocated 95,000 slots, potentially jeopardizing Nigerian pilgrims’ participation in the 2024 Hajj.

The looming deadline for visa processing, set to close in 35 days, coupled with the impending airlift of pilgrims in 45 days, underscores the need for immediate government intervention to ensure a seamless pilgrimage experience for Nigerian Muslims.

 

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