Senate Chief Whip Rejects Hajj Fee Increase, Calls for Subsidy to Aid First-Timers

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Ali Ndume, has voiced his opposition to the recent increase in the fees for the 2024 Hajj by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), denouncing it as unjust and aimed at depriving Nigerian Muslims, particularly first-timers, of the opportunity to partake in the pilgrimage.

NAHCON’s announcement of the fee adjustment, citing the current exchange rate of N1,474.00 to a dollar, has stirred controversy. According to the commission, approximately 49,000 intending pilgrims who had previously paid N4.9 million each are now required to pay an additional N1.9 million by March 28. Furthermore, new registrants are subject to a fee of N8.5 million.

In a statement released in Abuja, Ndume condemned the sudden hike, arguing that pilgrims who had already paid the previous fees should not be burdened with additional costs, especially with such short notice before the registration deadline. Emphasizing the significance of the Hajj as one of the five pillars of Islam, Ndume called upon President Bola Tinubu to approve subsidy payments to cover the extra expenses, particularly for first-time pilgrims.

Ndume urged state governments to intervene by covering the additional costs for pilgrims unable to afford the new fees set by NAHCON. He asserted that depriving Muslims of their religious rights, especially first-timers, is unjust and reflects poorly on the country’s commitment to religious freedom.

Expressing his concern for the financial strain placed on pilgrims, Ndume emphasized the need for immediate action to alleviate their burden. He called for a subsidy to be implemented to ease the financial pressure, particularly for those who had diligently saved for years to fulfill their religious obligation.


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