The immediate past Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, and a Professor of Political Science at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Ismaila Shehu, Thursday, advocated a five-year Hajj savings scheme rollover.
They both spoke at the Independent Hajj Reporters’ 2023 Hajj Lecture and Awards held at the National Mosque, Abuja.
Dada, who chaired the occasion, said the saving scheme despite misunderstanding surrounding it remained helpful for Nigerians to visit the Holy Land.
He called on the Federal Government to make a policy that would penalize tour operators who fail to meet up with their duties during the hajj pilgrimage.
“There is a seeming misunderstanding surrounding the hajj savings scheme, but the scheme is what Nigeria should leverage to enable Nigerians to visit the holy land with ease.
“The government should make policy direction on how to curtain issues of tour operators not meeting up with their duties during the hajj pilgrimage. Considering the dismal performance of some of our travel agents in the last hajj there should be clear guidelines on how the operators can be penalised.’’
In his lecture, Professor Ismaila Shehu, who was represented by the former Managing Editor of Daily Trust, Nasir Imam, said the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) should deepen its commitment to safeguarding pilgrims’ welfare.
He said: “For instance, its savings scheme can be made to roll over for a period of up to five years of installment. This will reduce anxiety among intending pilgrims and imbue them with mental stability and assurance to make the journey.
“However, special consideration should be given to those who for one reason may be allowed to go as they pay. The commission should harmonize accommodation agreements and arrangements in Makkah to provide pilgrims with the closest proximity to Haram.
Earlier, the Chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, warned the intending pilgrims for the 2024 Hajj to be ready to pay for the Hajj at the cost of the prevailing foreign exchange rate of the time.
“Besides, I must warn, all intending pilgrims should be prepared to pay for hajj at the cost of the prevailing foreign exchange rate of the time. We all are aware that the federal government has allowed the Naira to float freely for its value to be determined by market realities.
“This means Nigerian pilgrims to Hajj should be prepared to pay for the Hajj fare without government’s intervention or granting of concessionary exchange rate’’, Hassan said.
source: blue Prints
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