By Olugbenga Salami
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has condemned the “abysmal” payment for the this year’s Hajj and emphasized that the deadline for the remittance of 50 percent deposit of 2022 allocation remains February 28, failure of which the affected states would forfeit their allocations or reduced.
The commission, in a statement issued on Thursday by its Assistant Director of Information and Publications, Alhaji Mousa Ubandawaki, lamented that remittance to it “in this past week has been abysmal and payment to service providers in Saudi Arabia remains the biggest assurance that Nigeria will participate in this year’s Hajj.”
While stressing the need for early preparation, the statement said “by our calendar of events, final remittance to the commission should be concluded by February 28 in order to conclude our arrangements on time, as we didn’t want to give room to lapses.”
“We implore the State Pilgrims Welfare Boards, SPWB/A/C to cooperate with us and ensure compliance with the directive in order to make the Hajj 2023 successful. While reiterating our commitments to all intending pilgrims to ensure that everyone who paid their fare is registered.
“We urge the states to respect the agreement on the distribution of Hajj quota on the basis of 60% for government pilgrims and 40% for the Hajj Savings Scheme subscribers.
“In the same vein, the commission is disturbed about cases of Hajj Savings scheme subscribers being discouraged or pressurised to withdraw or migrate their deposits from the scheme to the State Board, in order to be registered for this year’s Hajj,”
NAHCON further emphasized that under the 2023 Hajj policy, 40% of intending pilgrims would be from Hajj Savings Scheme, HSS while 60% would be from the government, pay as you go.
The commission, however, assured all the stakeholders that no stone will be left unturned to make sure that the 2023 Hajj arrangements and operations are hitch free.