‘Do Not Collect Your Deposits Back’ – Nigerian Hajj Activists Urge Intending Pilgrims Amid Fare Hike

ABUJA, Nigeria – In the wake of a significant increase in the Hajj fare for 2024, the Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) is urging intending pilgrims to hold off on withdrawing their deposits from State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Agencies.

This advice announced in an email statement from IHR to The Trent on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, follows the announcement from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), which mandates that all pilgrims who have paid the initial fare of N4.9 million must top up an additional N1.9 million by March 28, 2024.

The call for restraint comes as the IHR, a leading civil society organization (CSO) with a focus on Hajj affairs, actively seeks the intervention of President Bola Tinubu to alleviate the financial burden on the approximately 50,000 pilgrims affected by the fare adjustment.

RELATED: ‘We paid for fares at N897 to a dollar’: NGO Calls on Tinubu to Save 2024 Hajj from Collapse

The organization had previously issued a plea to President Tinubu on Monday, advocating for government support to the pilgrims who have fulfilled their initial payment obligations.

According to Ibrahim Mohammed, the national coordinator for IHR, the organization’s findings indicate a growing trend of pilgrims requesting refunds from their respective State Hajj Welfare Boards.

This reaction stems from frustration over the unexpected fare increase and the impracticality for many to gather the additional N1.9 million within the stipulated four-day window.

“Our findings show that while some are asking for their deposits out of anger, others are saying they cannot raise the balance of N1.9 million within four days,” Mohammed explained, highlighting the distress within the pilgrim community.

Furthermore, some pilgrims are considering legal action, arguing that the Federal Government, through NAHCON, had initially declared a final Hajj fare of N4.699 million, which they have already paid in full.

Their receipts, stating “complete payment for 2024 Hajj,” serve as a testament to their commitment and financial fulfillment towards undertaking the religious pilgrimage.

In light of these developments, IHR advises intending pilgrims against making hasty decisions driven by frustration. The organization remains hopeful for a positive resolution, buoyed by President Tinubu’s reputation for addressing the concerns of his citizens.

“What if you chose to collect your deposits and then the government intervenes afterwards? We urge you to please hold on and see how everything ends,” Mohammed added, emphasizing the importance of patience and faith during these challenging times.

As the deadline for the additional payment looms, the situation remains fluid, with the IHR and other allied groups across Nigeria continuing their advocacy for governmental intervention.

Their message to the pilgrims is one of resilience: “Keep the faith and keep praying, for if Allah calls, one must answer.”

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