JUST IN: Senate President Lawan, Speaker Gbajabiamila commends NAHCON for downward review of Hajj 2019 fare
Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila have commended the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON ), for the downward review of 2019 Hajj fare.
NAHCON had on Saturday announced a reduction of SR620 (N51, 170.45) on this year’s fare.
The commission said the reduction as a result of the reclassification of land transportation routes to be used by Nigerian pilgrims during Hajj.
By the reduction, Hajj fare announced buy most states came down from N1.5 million to N1.4 million.
Speaking separately at the 2019 Hajj stakeholders meeting and award presentation which held on Tuesday at the auditorium of National Mosque Abuja, the leadership of National Assembly expressed delight over the development.
Represented by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, (Niger North), Senate President Ahmed Lawan said the reduction of the Hajj fare ”will endear Nigerian pilgrims to the government and the commission”.
Senator Lawan advised Hajj stakeholders such as selected airlines and other service providers to ensure that efficient services are rendered to the pilgrims.
He said Hajj camps should be out in good and habitual conditions and that Basic Travel Allowances should be given to the pilgrims before departure to the Holy Land.
The Senate President also urges NAHCON yo ensure that Nigerian pilgrims ”are conveyed to their hotels on arrival with dispatch”.
He added that the pilgrims should be accommodated in hotels close to the Haram in both Makkah and Madinah.
Senator Lawan said NAHCON must ensure that adequate arrangements are put in place for the pilgrims in Muna and Arafat. He said they should be served good food ” in time, hot and not cold”.
The President of the Senate finally admonished Nigerian pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the country while in Saudi Arabia.
He urged them to desist from crimes, overstaying their visa or carrying prohibited items into the kingdom.
He also urged them to use the Hajj exercise to pray for the ”unity, peace and prosperity of the country”.
On his part, Speaker Gbajabiamila, who is represented by his Chief of Staff, Sanusi Garba Rikiji expressed the ”absolute support and cooperation of the House to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria”.
He said Speaker Gbajabiamila is ”particularly delighted with the reduction of Hajj fare and the extension of closure of registration for Nigerians wishing to undertake the Hajj.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Barr. Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammed said this year’s Hajj is coming with its own peculiarities.
The NAHCON boss said unlike in previous exercises, visa procurement for the 2019 Hajj is IT based.
He said individual states and tour operators are now responsible for processing their own visas online.
”Now, there is no need to take passports to the embassy or consulate in Kano, ” he said.
He also said because of this innovation there is now no room for changes, corrections and substitutions.
He also noted that for each Visa processed, payment is generated electronically and the account of NAHCON is debited.
He therefore, admonished all officials involved to be careful as they go about their duties.
Barrister Mohammed also advised relevant officials to continuously educate intending pilgrims on the new dimension to expected challenges with weather conditions.
He also said officials, particularly the ulama, should continue in their task of education and orientation of the pilgrims.
” It makes no point for one to spend N1.4 million and doesn’t know how to perform Hajj, ” he said