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Low Turn Out Of Intending Muslim Pilgrims: We’re Not In Dilemma, Hajj Commission Insists

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has made it clear that despite the low turnout of intending pilgrims for the 2024 pilgrimage to Mecca, the Commission is not in dilemma.
Reacting to media report titled: “NAHCON In Dilemma As Low Turnout Threatens 2024 Hajj Preparations,” the Commission said the story raised concerns about the 2024 pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
In a statement today, December 30, the NAHCON’s Assistant Director, Fatima Sanda Usara, said: “contrary to the notion of a dilemma, NAHCON has completed 60% of its Hajj preparations. The challenge lies in determining the exact number of those who have paid the Hajj fares, justifying the Commission’s advocacy for the adoption of the Hajj Savings Scheme for better control and planning.
“This system would allow NAHCON and each state to track number of intending pilgrims eligible for the Hajj season, project balances, and streamline preparations efficiently.
She said that the Commission is prepared to work with any number of registered pilgrims able to pay the N4.5 million Hajj deposit by the December 31 deadline.
She said that the chairman of the Commission, Jalal Arabi had since assured that the fare would not exceed the deposit and may even be reduced, adding that he had continued to stress the importance of timely arrangements to protect interest of those who have sacrificed and paid their deposits so that their chances would not be jeopardized by late remittance.
“While some of the managers called for a deadline extension due to farmers awaiting harvest, others were optimistic about last-minute payments.
“NAHCON is aware of the challenges faced by State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards and intending pilgrims. It is noteworthy that the Commission has not yet announced the final Hajj fare for the 2024 Hajj, providing a potential opportunity for many pilgrims to initiate or finalize their payments.
“In addressing concerns about the timing of slot allocation to Private Tour Operators, it is important to clarify that the allocation of slots to the tour operators has no connection to the 31st December Hajj remittance deadline. While the suspension may have changed the allocation timeline, it does not affect the final payment to the Operators.
“It is crucial to understand that the earlier suspension of approved companies by NAHCON was solely due to grievances from non-selected entities. The Commission remains committed to transparency and fairness in the allocation process which is significant in establishing trust, a cornerstone for cooperation that will ensure a smooth and efficient Hajj preparation. “While NAHCON thanks the said media for its continued support, we encourage stakeholders and the public to seek accurate information and reach out to us for balanced perspectives and clarification as we strive to maintain open communication and transparency in our operations.”

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