Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, on Sunday advised Nigerians to free government from financial involvement in Hajj.
Alhaji Hassan gave the advice at a special prayer organised in his honour by the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN) over his appointment as NAHCON chairman.
He said the commission was committed to making hajj exercise affordable and removing interventions of government.
The NAHCON chairman said the introduction of Hajj Saving Scheme, Hajj Training Institute, and the digitalisation of hajj operation by the commission were aimed at making pilgrimage operation affordable and shortening the time spent in hajj tour.
He said the frequent increase in hajj fare would make it difficult for people to go for pilgrimage and prevent the commission from exhausting the quota allocated to Nigeria by the Saudi authorities.
Hassan said the introduction of the Hajj Saving Scheme would help to address the challenges and increase the number of people going for hajj exercise.
“The concept of hajj saving scheme is whereby the poor can save bit by bit between two and five years, until they are able to get the amount required for hajj.
“The money is turned into investment through our partnership with Jaiz Bank and they are entitled to increase in their holdings in the bank through their profit,” Hassan said.
The chairman said a time would come when there would be no need for government’s financial intervention in operation of hajj.
Hassan said the commission was already looking inwards to increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), adding that government finances have competing interests.
He said government did not need to sponsor anyone to hajj but to rather empower the people financially, adding that hajj is obligatory on those who can avoid it.
“Let us free government from financial involvement in hajj, government can provide logistics for hajj operation but not sponsoring people to hajj,” he said.
In his address, the MUSWEN’s president, Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo, called on Muslims in the region and Nigeria in general to support the chairman of NAHCON instead of distracting him with selfish demands.