Chris Steven, Abuja
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has urged intending pilgrims to deposit a monthly minimum of N250, 000 for four months or N1m once to the State Pilgrims Welfare Boards/Agencies/Commissions (SPWB).
Commissioner for Personnel Policy Management and Finance (PPMF) for the Commission , Alhaji Yusuf Adebayo Ibrahim made the plea on Thursday in Abuja after NAHCON meeting with Chief Executives of the SPWB.
He said the payment which commences this December will last till April 2017 to ease the task of intending pilgrims meeting the fares requirements when the commission would announced the official fares for the 2017 hajj.
“We want to maintain the accommodations in the Markasiyya areas in Madinah and want to extend same in Makkah. We want to ensure that accommodations for Nigerians in Saudi Arabia will not be more than 1km to Haram in the two cities,” Ibrahim said. “We want to improve on the gains of last year, if you plan well, you get better results.” He said
He also said the commission would make the fares announcement based on the official currency exchange rate.
When asked to clarify on the new visa fees and rules by the Saudi Arabia Authority, Ibrahim said they are yet to be formally notified by the Kingdom as there were meetings with Saudi Arabia Ambassador who did not mentioned the amount.
He added that the Minister of State Foreign Affairs Hajiya Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim and other officials will do the needful on the matter.
The acting Chairman Forum of Chairmen and Secretaries of the SPWB who doubles as the Zamfara State Chairman Alhaji Abubakar Sarkin Pawa and the Executive Secretary of Nasarawa State Muslim Pilgrims Board Nalaraba Abubakar assured that they are working with the commission to ensure a better 2017 hajj in the e-registration, e-wrist band and other areas.