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Yunus Olawale

 The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has pledged to make the journey of the prospective pilgrims in the year 2024/1445 to the Holy House of Allah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia more conducive, convenient and favorable as it informs prospective pilgrims that the issuance of visa will stop 45 days to Arafah This was assured when its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan addressed the press during the Commission’s meeting with Chief Executive of States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards/ Agencies/Commission and officials of  the Association of Hajj and Umrah operators  in Nigeria at its Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday 5th of September 2023.

While he was addressing the audience, he opined that NAHCON has concluded arrangements for the 2024 Hajj operation and structured it to avoid unnecessary disruption. He also pinpointed that the calendar for the 2024 Hajj has been released by Saudi Arabia Hajj authorities, therefore, prospective pilgrims should start to deposit for their payments for the pilgrimage especially that the Commission is fully prepared for the Hajj operation. He lamented that the fare for the pilgrimage increased as result of the fluctuation in the foreign exchange thus the sum of N4.5M shall be the minimum deposit for this year pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In his words, he said: “I welcome you to the first meeting we are having with major stakeholders after our return from Hajj 2023. Earlier this morning we held a meeting with the leadership of the Association of Hajj and Umrah operators and with all the leadership of the state pilgrims welfare boards, commissions and agency. The three of us have unanimously agreed that there is continuous need, to keep on looking for ways to improve the welfare of the pilgrims.”  “We also recognized the fact that in at least 10 years, the pilgrims this year outnumbered previous years. This is the first time in at least 10 years Commission was able to go to the Kingdom with over 95,000 pilgrims.”

The chairman used the occasion to emphasis on the changes that Hajj 2024 shall bring for the country’s Hajj operators. He urged prospective pilgrims and operators to adhere and abide by the new directives as included in the operational manual for Hajj 2024 from Saudi Arabia Hajj Authorities. For instance, he mentioned Visa Issuance would cease forty-five days to Arafah unlike in the past that such can be procured close to Arafah.

He admonished  the commission will not tolerate  late payments from pilgrims or it is remittances from States pilgrim boards and private operators  because the Commission has vowed  to make 2024 Hajj more convenient for pilgrims  while performing one of the pillars of Islam- Hajj. In addition to this, it is fact that we have been informed by the Kingdom that whoever finishes its preparations first among the Hajj missions in the world, they will be entitled to their choice of tent spaces in Minna and Arafah.

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