Amid Dollar Instability, FG Fixes 2024 Hajj Fare at N4.8m

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has fixed the 2024 Hajj fare at N4,899,000 for pilgrims travelling from the southern centre amid the soaring forex crisis in the country. 

The Assistant Director, Public Affairs, NAHCON, Fatima Sanda Usara, announced this in a statement Saturday.

She said those from the northern centre will pay N4,699,000 for the Hajj, while pilgrims from Yola and Maiduguri centre will pay a fee of N4,679,000 for the same exercise.

Usara advised intending pilgrims to balance their Hajj fare by February 12 accordingly to enable the commission transfer the funds before the imminent deadline of February 25.

She said the new fare has effectively made unrealistic the 2024 Hajj fare of N4.5 million that was charged as original deposit, which the Chairman of  NAHCON, Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi, had initially aimed to maintain.

“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 cost of the year’s Hajj at the said rate,” Usara said.

She disclosed that Arabi had in late January, actively negotiated substantial discounts with service providers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, striving to alleviate costs for intending pilgrims from Nigeria.

She, however, regretted that the volatile currency situation within the week had necessitated NAHCON to take a drastic decision to consolidate the gains achieved in lowering the cost of services for the Hajj, warning without which the price of 2024 Muslim pilgrimage might have shot to about N6 million.

“While expressing his regret, Chairman 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 which he assiduously worked for. Consequently, NAHCON announces the feasible cost of Hajj to meet the impending remittance deadline,” Usara added.

NAHCON assures the public of its commitment to ensuring a smooth and successful Hajj pilgrimage for all participants despite the challenges posed by foreign exchange factors. 

The commission also lauded the Nigerian Ummah for showing understanding and cooperation during these times.

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