‘Na three years I don dey save for Hajj, where I wan see almost N2 million now?

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One Nigerian woman identified as Bashirat don express her sadness ova di new price wey di National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) set for Hajj Pilgrimage.

Earlier dis year, NAHCON bin put di price at N4.9 million ($3,400), but on Sunday 24 March, di commission send message give pipo wey bin don pay di amount to tell dem say dem still gatz pay anoda N1.9 million ($1,300) on or bifor Friday, 29 March, to complete am.

Di reason for dis hike, according to di Hajj commission na sake of forex volatility wey Nigeria dey experience currently.

Intending pilgrim Bashirat wey dey reside for Ikorodu area of Lagos State tell BBC Pidgin say she dey veri sad as di Hajj price take dey increase.

She bin don pay di initial N4.9 million afta saving up for three years, and she bin dey happy say finally she go set foot for di Holy Land.

“Where I wan see dis new moni now, almost N2 million?” She ask. “I don dey save moni for like 3 years now.”

“I no even know wetin to do. Di price dey too much. I no tink say I go fit get di moni. I feel bad becos I don tell pipo say I dey go.”

Bashirat tok say Hajj dey important for her bicos na directive from God. “E dey good to go becos God go hear prayer for dia,” she tok.

Anoda Nigerian wey bin dey plan to go Hajj na Mallam Salisu Muhammad wey be travel agent.

Im dey process visa for pipo wey wan go for Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, and im don dey gada moni to fit make di pilgrimage dis year.

But Mallam Muahammad hope don scata as di National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) don raise di price for Hajj Pilgrimage to N6.8 million ($4,700).

Di Nigerian naira bin dey on a free fall recently, crashing to an all time low of N1,615 to $1 on di official window in February, while di parallel market price bin dey approach N2,000. Now di official exchange rate of di naira don rebound small to N1,405 to $1.

“I bin dey postpone going for Hajj sake of say I neva save enough moni, and I dey hope say las las, na dis year I go fit raise enough moni,” Muhammad, also known as Mallam Baita, tell BBC Pidgin.

“Even wit di former price wey be N4.9 million, na only veri few customers we dey get, now wey di price don increase, many of dem don tok say dem no go fit make am. Me too don cancel my own plans,” Mallam Baita tok.

Hajj na one of di five pillars of Islam, and evri Muslim faithful dey strongly encouraged to perform am at least once in dia lifetime.

For Nigeria, na also somtin of prestige for sombodi to travel to Saudi Arabia for Hajj as e dey come wit di title of ‘Alhaji’.

“Na big privilege to go to di place where di Holy Prophet bin live, walk on di roads where im bin walk, and pray for di mosque where im bin dey pray. Na big blessing be dat and na why evri Muslim dey do im veri best to go for Hajj pilgrimage, and na also why e dey veri painful wen pesin hope go scata like dis,” Muhammad tok.

Di Nigerian goment bin dey subsidise di cost of pilgrimages for both Muslim and Christian faithful for di kontri.

Dis subsidies dey usually come in form of a different exchange rate for pipo wey dey intend to travel for pilgrimage to any of di holy lands: Saudi Arabia for Muslims and Israel for Christians.

For instance, for 2023, when di exchange rate na about N638 to $1, di federal goment bin approve exchange rate of N460 to a dollar for Nigerian pilgrims.

However, plenty sabi pipo don condemn such move and call for goment to comot hand for anytin wey concern religious pilgrimage subsidy.

For 2015, di den govnor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai say im administration don stop to dey sponsor religious pilgrimages as e tok say e dey cost di goment almost N1.5 billion per year. “Our state simply no fit afford dis expenses any longer,” El-Rufai tok dat time.

Nigeria get 95,000 slots for di 2024 Hajj pilgrimage, and according to NAHCON website, 48,414 of di slots don dey taken.

However, NAHCON tok say any new registration for 2024 Hajj from 24 March go attract di full sum of N8,225,464.74 from di Adamawa/Borno axis.

From di North zone, fresh depositors go pay N8,254,464.74. Fresh payments from di Southern zone go attract N8,454,464.74 as Hajj fare.

Source: bbc pidgin

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