Serve the Pilgrims Initiative (SPI), a not-for-profit organization, has commended the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for trimming the number of hajj airlines to three and discarding uniformed hajj fare for states.
SPI, in a statement by its Co-Chair Yakubu Musa Fagge, on Wednesday said the two bold steps taken by NAHCON would streamline the 2024 hajj operations by deepening efficiency and transparency in the hajj operation
Recently, the hajj commission under the leadership of Mr Jalal Ahmed Arabi announced the selection of three airlines — Flynas, Max Air and Air Peace — as official hajj carriers for 2024 hajj.
It also said the hajj commission’s
approval of three airlines with verifiable capacity, unlike last year, where some of the airlines were even under AMCON receivership, would go along way in easing the airlift of pilgrims of the West African leading hajj country.
The CSO said, “this bold move will streamline the airlift of hajj pilgrims during the 2024 operations. The selection of many airlines without capacity almost truncated the 2023 hajj operation.”
The statement said the removal of uniformed hajj fare for states would enable pilgrims get value for their money.
Mr Arabi during signing agreement with service providers, told Executive Secretaries and Chairmen of State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board (SMPWB) to take advantage of the service providers’ open market to negotiate cost effective services for their pilgrims.
The NAHCON boss said there will not be uniformed hajj fare in 2024, saying the cheaper a state’s cost of accommodation and feeding, the cheaper the state’s hajj fare. He said the states are to plan their individual menus which would be used during negotiations.
SPI said this “new policy move would enable states to fix their hajj fare according to the strength of their economy. The quality services, however, should not be compromised.” the CSO said.
The SPI also reiterated its call on President Bola Tinubu for special exchange rate for the pilgrims.