Ndume condemns hike in Hajj fees, urges Tinubu, Governors to pay for pilgrims

Sharon EboesomiMarch 27, 20244 min

Pilgrims, who had previously paid the commission N4.9 million each for the 2024 hajj, have been instructed to pay an extra N1.9 million no later than March 28, while the cost of registration is now N8.5 million.

Ndume condemns hike in Hajj fees
Ali Ndume

Senator Ali Ndume APC, Borno South), has condemned the increase in the rate for the 2024 Hajj by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), describing it as unfair and a calculated attempt to prevent Nigerian Muslims, particularly those who are participating for the first time, from taking part in the pilgrimage.

According to Ndume, pilgrims who had previously paid the old fees cannot be compelled to pay an extra fee of almost N2 million, barely one week to the end of the registration. 

OrderPaper notes that the commission’s spokesperson, Fatima Sanda-Usara, released a statement on Sunday announcing the new rate change saying the increase was necessary given the exchange rate of N1,474.00 to the dollar.

The statement claims that around 49,000 pilgrims who were planning to travel under the public quota had already given the commission N4.9 million at a time when the value of the naira was still N897 to the dollar at the banks.

However, these pilgrims, who had previously paid the commission N4.9 million each, have been instructed to pay an extra N1.9 million each by no later than March 28, while the cost of new registration is N8.5 million.

READ ALSO: Akpabio harps on unity at Armed Forces remembrance

In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, Ndume, listed the five pillars of Islam: Shahada, Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj, saying that the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca is required of every Muslim at least once in their lifetime.

He urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to authorise the payment of the additional expense as a subsidy so that first-timers could participate in the Hajj in the Holy Land this year adding that if intending pilgrims are unable to pay the amended fee set by NAHCO, the relevant State Governments should take it upon themselves to pay the additional expense.

He maintained that depriving Muslims of their religious rights—especially those who are new, is unfair and reflects poorly on the nation at a time when Nigerians were finding it difficult to make the first payment.

Ndume said: “The sudden hike in the fees intending pilgrims are expected to pay by NAHCON is unfair. You cannot impose such on them. They had already paid for it ahead of time. If there is any changes, the burden should be on NAHCON and not on the intending pilgrims.

“Something urgent needs to be done about this. I call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to approve the payment of the extra fee as directed by NAHCON. This is the right thing to do in order to save the situation. 

“I am also calling on States pilgrims to subsidise the fees of pilgrims, especially first timers. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is unfair to deny first-timers the right to perform this spiritual exercise, especially after they have already paid the old fee set by NAHCON. 

“I do not think it is fair to ask them to pay almost N2 million again. Many of the pilgrims saved up the money for many years to enable them to participate in Hajj. You cannot deny such people the right to participate. 

“I strongly believe that the right thing to do is to subsidise the fee and take the extra burden away from pilgrims, especially first-timers who deserve to participate in this year’s Hajj exercise. We need to help them.”

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents of Borno South district, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Sen. Ndume throughout the 10th senate here.

Sharon Eboesomi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please email us - contents@orderpaper.ng - if you need this content for legitimate research purposes. Please check our privacy policy