The Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) has expressed worry over the slow pace with which Nigerian authorities are moving regarding preparations for Hajj 2024.
In a statement yesterday, the civil society organisation (CSO) said the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had made it clear to all Hajj participating countries before completion of the 2023 Hajj that preparations for Hajj 2024 had begun.
The CSO said the ministry had informed most countries of their Hajj quota and the new policies in place for next year’s Hajj and that formalities were to be concluded at least 45 days before Hajj 2024 because the Visa issuance portal would be closed by that date.
The statement signed by IHR’s National Coordinator, Ibrahim Mohammed, said Nigeria has about 4 months to conclude making all necessary arrangements such as collection and deposit of pilgrim’s fares, signing of MOU and engagement with service providers both at home and in Saudi Arabia.
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The statement said in part, “…we expect that all states should have announced the commencement of registration of intending pilgrims while NAHCON on its part moves with lightning speed to negotiate how to get the foreign exchange component benchmark of the forthcoming pilgrimage. Anything short of that is simply risking Nigerians’ participation in Hajj 2024.”
IHR said it expected both NAHCON and the states to have vigorously begun an enlightenment campaign regarding the existing FX policy and how it affects the Hajj fare.
He added that states pilgrims boards must embark on state-wide publicity on 2024 registration as every other arrangement is tied to the number of pilgrims that will be registered by the states.