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Hajj fee hike unfair, Ndume knocks NAHCON 

Chief Whip of the Senate, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has opposed the increase in fare for the 2024 Hajj by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria…

Chief Whip of the Senate, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has opposed the increase in fare for the 2024 Hajj by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), describing it as unfair and a deliberate plan to deny Nigerian Muslims, especially first timers, the opportunity to participate in the exercise.

In a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, Senator Ndume, who listed the five pillars of Islam – Shahada, Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj – said, the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca is required of every Muslim at least once in their lifetime.

Recall that NAHCON on Sunday, announced the new rate adjustment in a statement by the spokesperson of the commission, Fatima Sanda-Usara. The commission explained that the rate of N1,474.00 to a dollar informed the adjustment.

The commission said about 49,000 intending pilgrims under the public quota, had earlier paid the sum of N4.9 million to the commission when the naira was still at N897 to a dollar at the banks, adding that they had been told to pay an additional N1.9 million each on or before 28 March, while new registration had been fixed at N8.5 million.

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But Ndume said pilgrims, who had earlier paid the old fees should not be compelled to cough up almost N2 million, barely one week to the end of the registration.

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 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 are coming from 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 participate in Hajj. You cannot deny such people the right to participate.”

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