No Hajj Slot For Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, A/Ibom As Fare Hits N2.5m

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says no hajj slot is allocated to Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Imo States this year.

It also noted the hajj fare for Nigerian pilgrims this year is likely to increase by over 50 per cent.

The hajj fare was N1.5m in 2019, thus, pilgrims who have deposited money since 2020 are expected to pay at least, N1m more.

Chairman, NAHCON, Zikirullah Hassan, explained that the four states were not licensed by the commission.

He, however, said if Muslims from there intended to perform the exercise, the commission would help them to do so.

Hassan spoke in Abuja yesterday at a meeting with executives of state pilgrims’ boards for the preparation of the 2022 hajj.

He said the projection of the 50 percent increase in the hajj fare was due to economic realities and other factors.

“The projection on the increase is because as at 2019, the exchange rate for hajj was N306, but now, it will be at N410 to dollar. We all know that hajj is 97 percent by foreign exchange for food airlines and others.

“Also, Saudi Arabia has increased their VAT from 5 percent to 15 percent, they also told us that they have made massive investment in Mina and Arafa,” he said.

He said intending pilgrims would be required to be fully vaccinated with a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine, adding that PCR test is also a must.

On how the exchange would be conducted with the backlog of payment already made, he said selection would be made based on a first-come-first-serve basis with a sharing formula of 40 percent for the regular hajj and 60 percent for those on Hajj Savings Scheme.

Hassan said of the 43,008 hajj slots given to Nigeria, 33,976 would go to states, 9,032 to private tour operators and 3,398 to stakeholders.

From the 33,976 given to states, Kaduna was allotted the highest with 2,249; Sokoto, 2,404; Niger, 2,256; Kano, 2,229; Katsina, 2,146; Kebbi, 2,128; Lagos, 1,562; Bauchi, 1,363; Adamawa, 1,166; Abia, 6; Anambra, 17; Benue, 103; Borno, 1,195; Cross River, 29; Delta,19.

Others are Ebonyi, 51; Edo, 94; Ekiti, 86; Enugu, 13; FCT, 1,538; Gombe, 1,005; Jigawa, 614; Kogi, 319; Kwara, 1,406; Nasarawa, 684; Ogun, 497; Ondo, 191; Osun, 460; Oyo, 629; Plateau, 824; Taraba, 651; Yobe, 860; Zamfara 1,303 and Armed Forces, 239.

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