July 18, 2024

The Plateau State Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board has said 135 intending pilgrims who had initially made deposits will not be able to participate in this year’s hajj.

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in March had increased the fare for the year 2024 pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia by N1.9 million from N4.9 million to N6.8 million.

The commission also set March 28 as the deadline for intending pilgrims to complete their payments.

The affected individuals from Plateau State last Friday rushed to the state’s hajj agency to complete their payments but found no officials available to attend them.

The board’s Information Officer, Yasir Isma’il, in an interview with our correspondent, said the affected persons were unable to pay the balance because the payment deadline had expired.

He said NAHCON had already finalised the list of participants for this year’s Hajj, making it impossible for the board to secure additional seats.

Isma’il mentioned that although many pilgrims couldn’t meet the initial hajj deposit deadline, the state government approved a loan of two billion naira to secure the state’s quota.

He said, “If you could recall, many intending pilgrims were not able to pay the initial Hajj deposit of N4.9 million up to the dateline given by NAHCON but the governor approved a loan of two billion naira for the board to secure the state quota.

“We were able to pay for the 1,345 seats allocated to the state but, unfortunately, the issue of the increase came up and despite all odds, the board was also able to pay for 1,210 seats to allow our intending pilgrim to pay at ease even after the deadline announced by NAHCON.

“For those who came to the board with cash on Friday, honestly they have missed the chance according to the directives by NAHCON as regards the 2024 hajj.”

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