The chairman of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikirullah Kunle Hassan has urged officials of the States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Agencies to begin the processes of acquiring visas for all Hajj 2022 intending pilgrims from their states.
Alhaji Hassan said the commission had already secured visas for the advanced team and pilgrims travelling on the inaugural flight billed for Maiduguri, Borno state on June 9.
The NAHCON chairman gave the advice on Saturday at an extraordinary meeting with thr Chief Executives of Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards in NAHCON Hajj House headquarters in Abuja.
The chairman also finally announced the Hajj fare for Nigerian pilgrims.
He stated that pilgrims from Southern Nigeria are to pay N2,496,815.29, while their counterparts from Northern part of the country will pay N2, 449, 607.89.
For Adamawa and Borno states, they are to pay N2, 408, 197.89 due to their proximity to Saudi Arabia.
A statement by NAHCON’s Head of Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara said the cost of air ticket is the major difference in the Hajj fare.
Mrs Usara said following the announcement of the fare, “the entire State Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards’ Executive Officers and other participants gave the #NAHCON leadership a standing ovation for doing a job well done in holding down the Hajj fare below the N2.5 million earlier deposited by intending pilgrims despite the obvious challenges.
“The gathering appreciated the efforts put in place by the NAHCON Chairman in achieving this feat on behalf of Nigerian pilgrims,” she said.
She so said Alhaji Hassan reminded the gathering that all stakeholders do not have the luxury of time, adding that ” from experience, we know that Saudi Arabia will not add an hour extra once the deadline for landing is due”.
He said the Commission has requested for more Hajj seats and are still waiting for response.
“Therefore, in the meantime, all states are to work with and exhaust the allocations they have been granted instead of waiting for more,” he said.
The Chairman urged the state officials to send their staff to study the visa processing system due to recent modifications that were introduced by Saudi Arabia this year.
He said state board executives that are ready will be guided on the process after the meeting.
On the issue of difficulty in acquiring travel passports, Alhaji Hassan informed the officials that the board member representing Nigeria Immigration Service had promised to assist any state board having problem processing the travel document for their pilgrims. He therefore directed the state boards’ Executive Secretaries to contact her for assistance.
The chairman also called for enhanced enlightenment on Hadaya to avoid pilgrims being scammed.
He said In it costs cheaper when paid from Nigeria due to the benefit of the foreign exchange.
Similarly, the Chairman disclosed that pilgrims will get their covid-19 PCR test done at a discounted rate of N30,000.
Alhaji Nura Hassan Yakassai, NAHCON’s Commissioner in charge of Policy, Personnel Management and Finance encouraged the states to conclude fund remittance to fast-track Hajj preparations and for processing of Basic Travelling Allowances.
In his closing remarks, the chairman of Forum of States, Alhaji Idris Ahmed Al’ Makura praised the NAHCON board for the commendable job and called for cooperation from all quarters.