The Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has fixed N4,899,000 as the final cost for the 2024 Hajj exercise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
It said the intending pilgrims have till February 12 to pay.
The Assistant Director, Public Affairs unit of the state board, Taofeek Lawal, noted this was according to an announcement made by the Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, Malam Jalal Arabi, over the weekend.
Lawal also said this was further disclosed by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Olanrewaju Layode, in a statement signed by the Board Secretary, Saheed Onipede, on Tuesday.
Layode urged the intending pilgrims, especially those that had earlier paid N4.5m to endeavour to pay the balance of N399,000 on or before February 12, 2024, to meet up with the deadline given by NAHCON.
“The commissioner expressed the state government’s regrets over the increment and said the development was least expected at a time when every Nigerian was trying hard to survive the economic downturn in the country as a result of the instability in the dollar to naira exchange rate.
“While pleading with the intending pilgrims to show understanding, he stated that the situation was beyond the control of the state government. He explained further that the expectation of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration and other stakeholders was to have the initial deposit of N4.5m reduced to the barest minimum. He, however, prayed that Allah would make the payment of the balance easy for them within the stipulated period and also make the spiritual exercise an acceptable one for them,” the statement read.
the Chairman of NAHCON, Arabi, according to a statement on the commission’s website on February 3, had initially aimed to maintain the 2024 Hajj fare at N4.5m that was charged as an initial deposit.
But the commission noted that prospects had remained high “until the well-known naira crash that occurred mid-week.”
“Regrettably, the recent instability in the dollar exchange rate compelled a necessary adjustment despite commendable efforts by NAHCON Chairman, Jalal Arabi, to maintain the cost of the year’s Hajj at the said rate,” it said.