Hope rises over 2024 Hajj 

The Acting Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi is optimistic that the 2024 Hajj fare may not exceed the N4.5 million currently required as minimum deposit to register for the exercise. Following some measures, the NAHCON plans to introduce, the imminent rise in the Hajj fare may be a nightmare subdued.

Recall that the cost of the 2023 Hajj was $6,644.1 exchanged at the rate of N456 to a dollar. Today, the same $6,644.1 at the exchange rate of N800 would amount to N5,315.352. This is what makes the hike predictable. Fortunately, Arabi brought a proposition that would insulate the Hajj fare from escalating.  And in consonance with the Tinubu administration, the proposals are being considered because they would serve as shock absorbers to the final cost of 2023 Hajj. This and other issues were discussed in BBC Hausa’s program “Gane mani Hanya” aired on November 25.

Organising Hajj has never been easy. Even for a country as well resourced as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Hajj management is an overwhelming task which those who have attended can testify to. Similarly, the NAHCON chairman is faced with varied expectations from the public and his principals. If there are things he would do differently, only time would tell. However, he disclosed some of his plans also in an interview with Malam Nasiru El-Hikaya on Voice of America

With 2024 Hajj drawing nearer, NAHCON has continued to remind intending pilgrims that the deadline for pilgrimage preparations would end earlier than usual. This is because the host country has scheduled to close Hajj arrangements early to facilitate timely commencement of visa processing. 

Consequently, visa issuance would end earlier than it used to. Thus, the Hajj commission set December 31 as deadline for remittance of N4.5 million Hajj fare deposit to allow it collate number of qualified candidates for the Hajj. It is with this number that the commission would enter negotiations that would determine the final fare for the pilgrimage. Outcome of accommodation, feeding and airline negotiations would also come with announcement of deadline for full fare remittance or refund if there is any excess on the N4.5m.

Fatima Sanda Usara,

 Public Affairs Unit, NAHCON,