The Lagos State Government has reacted to the caution given by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to all the States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards (SMPWB) against charging above the amount it announced as Hajj fare to be paid for the 2023 exercise.
In his reaction, the Hon. Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, affirmed that the sum of N2,999,000.00 was announced by NAHCON as the fare for intending pilgrims wishing to perform the holy pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia through the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.
He explained further that during a meeting with the intending pilgrims, NAHCON’s publication in respect of the Hajj fare was brought to their attention and boldly shown to them for confirmation.
He added that the meeting agreed on a one-line package of paying the sum of N,2,999,000.00 on or before April 21, being the deadline given by NAHCON for all the States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards to remit the fare.
The Hon. Commissioner also stated that aside from NAHCON’s fare, the meeting considered the importance of fulfilling some essential and almost compulsory items/activities to be carried out by the pilgrims both in Nigeria and the holy Land which were not captured by NAHCON, hence, the agreement between the intending pilgrims and the state government that a sum of N200,000.00 be added to the cost.
According to him, the added sum would cater for items such as; cost of Hadiyyah (sacrificial) ram, medical screening, Ziyyarah to important Islamic sites both in Makkah and Madinah, amongst others. He also said that the intending pilgrims would be provided with local delicacies whilst in the Kingdom.
Elegushi stressed that the meeting agreed that the N200,000.00 should be paid within two to three weeks after the April 21 deadline by NAHCON, adding that a video clip of the meeting is available for NAHCON’s confirmation.
He expressed joy that the intending pilgrims have been complying and are already paying the Hajj fare in line with the agreement reached.
The Commissioner said that the state was not interested in making any gains or profits at the expense of the intending pilgrims but to provide them a seamless, comfortable and acceptable Hajj exercise which has been its goal over the years.