The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has fixed the final fare prices for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage exercise.
The commission had earlier in October, pegged the initial fare deposit at N4.5m, noting that the fixed amount was “in tandem with the dollar rate that will determine the final cost of the coming Hajj”, and that the amount would give the commission a more realistic figure in bargaining for the cost of accommodation, airline fares, feeding, and other necessities.
However, in a statement signed by NAHCON’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Fatima Usara, on Saturday, the Commission said it had made efforts to maintain the fares at N4.5m, but had to make adjustments because of “the recent instability in the dollar exchange rate.”
Usara added that while the Chairman of the commission, Jalal Arabi, had negotiated prices with service providers in Saudi Arabia, the currency situation in the past week necessitated the adjustments, stating that the fares would have reached up to N6 million otherwise.
“It would be recalled that the Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi had initially aimed to maintain the 2024 Hajj fare at N4.5 million that was charged as an initial deposit. The prospects had remained high until the well-known Naira crash that occurred mid-week.
“Regrettably, the recent instability in the dollar exchange rate compelled a necessary adjustment despite commendable efforts by NAHCON Chairman, Jalal Ahmad Arabi to maintain the cost of the year’s Hajj at the said rate.
“Arabi had actively negotiated substantial discounts with service providers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in late January, striving to alleviate costs for intending pilgrims. However, the volatile currency situation within the week necessitated the Commission to take a drastic decision to consolidate the gains achieved in lowering the cost of services for the Hajj, without which the price of the 2024 Muslim pilgrimage might have shot to about N6,000,000,” the statement partly read.
Consequently, the commission has now pegged fares for intending pilgrims from Nigeria’s Southern centre at N4,899,000; those from the Northern centre will pay N4,699,000; while pilgrims from Yola and Maiduguri centres will pay a fee of N4,679,000 for the 2024 Hajj exercise.
Intending pilgrims have now been advised to pay or balance their Hajj fares by Monday, February 12 2024, to enable the commission to transfer the funds before the imminent deadline.
According to the statement, Arabi stated that “this is the will of Allah, because the Commission, facing a tight deadline of 25th February, has limited time to explore further options to remain within the range of N4.5 million.”
NAHCON however assured the public of its commitment to ensuring a smooth and successful Hajj pilgrimage for all participants, despite the challenges posed by foreign exchange factors, while appreciating the understanding and cooperation of the Nigerian Muslim community during these times.