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2024 Hajj: FG urged to take stand on forex

The Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a faith-based Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has urged the federal government to make its stand on whether pilgrims would be given forex subsidy during the 2024 Hajj or not.

In a statement yesterday, the national coordinator of the IHR, Ibrahim Muhammed, lamented the slow progress being recorded in pre-Hajj pilgrims’ preparations and documentation ahead of this year’s holy pilgrimage, which he noted called for concern.

Recall that Daily Trust had reported how lack of communication from the Presidency on the issue of subsidising fare for the 2024 Hajj was hampering preparations for the pilgrimage two weeks after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began issuing visas.

“With less than 60 days to the commencement of airlift of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) is yet to execute some vital pre-Hajj operational plans due to its inability to have a clear clarification on government’s forex transaction benchmark for this year’s Hajj—a policy that has been previously implemented for both Christian and Muslim pilgrims in the country,” Muhammed said.

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The IHR also said it was aware that government extended the same intervention to Christian pilgrims late last year.

“As at today, no single pilgrim has been enrolled in Saudi Arabia’s Hajj E-track system because the NAHCON is yet to affect the needed financial obligations in the portal.

“Most importantly, Saudi Arabia has commenced issuance of visa to intending pilgrims from all Hajj participating countries on March 1 – signaling the beginning of the end of visa processes for anyone who wishes to participate in 2024, but the NAHCON is yet to kick-start visa process,” the IHR said.

He explained that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah 2024 calendar was being implemented accordingly; and therefore, called on the federal government and the NAHCON to be wary of the negative effects of further delays.

According to the calendar as released by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the visa issuing portal, which was opened for all countries on March 1, will be closed on April 29.

 

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