In October, the commission set the initial fare deposit at N4.5 million, aligning it with the dollar rate to determine the overall Hajj cost. The commission aimed for a realistic figure for accommodation, airline fares, feeding, and other necessities.
However, in a statement released on Saturday by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON)’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Fatima Usara, adjustments had to be made due to recent instability in the dollar exchange rate. Usara explained that despite efforts to keep the fares at N4.5 million, changes were necessary.
She mentioned that the commission's Chairman, Jalal Arabi, negotiated prices with service providers in Saudi Arabia. However, the currency situation in the past week led to adjustments, preventing the fares from reaching up to N6 million.
“Arabi had actively negotiated substantial discounts with service providers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in late January, striving to alleviate costs for intending pilgrims. However, the volatile currency situation within the week necessitated the Commission to take a drastic decision to consolidate the gains achieved in lowering the cost of services for the Hajj, without which the price of the 2024 Muslim pilgrimage might have shot to about N6,000,000,” the statement partly read.
Consequently, the commission has now pegged fares for intending pilgrims from Nigeria’s Southern centre at N4,899,000; those from the Northern centre will pay N4,699,000; while pilgrims from Yola and Maiduguri centres will pay a fee of N4,679,000 for the 2024 Hajj exercise.
Intending pilgrims have now been advised to pay or balance their Hajj fares by Monday, February 12 2024, to enable the commission to transfer the funds before the imminent deadline.
According to the statement, Arabi stated that “this is the will of Allah, because the Commission, facing a tight deadline of 25th February, has limited time to explore further options to remain within the range of N4.5 million.”