Tinubu’s government confirms spending N90 billion to subsidise 2024 hajj amid widespread hardship

The Nigerian Government has confirmed spending a whooping sum of N90 billion to subsidise the cost of the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage for citizens.

Shettima made this known on Wednesday at the inauguration of the 2024 National Hajj operation, held at the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State Capital.

According to him, the gesture was to provide succour to the pilgrimage and other Nigerians due to the naira crisis.

He said; ”You may recall that this year, we had a major challenge in announcing the final hajj fare for the 2024 Muslim pilgrimage due to fluctuation in foreign exchange rates.

“President Bola Tinubu also works round the clock to control the downwards spiral of our local currency to bring relief to our pilgrims and other Nigerians, a move that eventually succeeded in lowering the fare. The President approved the release of N90 billion to subsidise the pilgrimage cost for this year’s hajj.”

He said the government of Renewed Hope, led by President Tinubu, attaches immense importance to religious pilgrimage due to its role in transforming the behavioural and social vices of the believers beyond performing the pilgrimage.

“Due to this high regard, the government took time to carefully select men of integrity with administrative acumen and records of selfless dedication to manage the affairs of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria in the interest of Nigerian pilgrims.

” Government at the highest level monitors all arrangements meant for the well-being of our pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and within the country before embarking on the journey.

” We are aware of the provision put in place for the safety, security and comfort of the Nigerian contingent to the 2024 hajj of our pilgrims.”

The Vice President urged the pilgrims not to relent in praying for the success of the Tinubu administration, peace and progress of the country that ”we are proud to call our motherland.”

“Indeed, it is through our collective prayers and individual contributions that our country will prosper,” Mr Shettima said.

Recall that the Nigerian Muslim pilgrims who had earlier paid for a trip to Saudi Arabia for the 2024 Hajj demanded a refund after the country’s Hajj Commission instructed them to pay another N1.9 million in March.

The commission had increased the fare for this year’s pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia by N1,918,032.91 while setting a deadline of March 28, 2024.

In December 2023, it fixed a fare of N4.9 million per pilgrim based on an exchange rate of N897 to a dollar.

The commission later asked those who had paid the initial amount to add N1.9 million, raising the total amount to N6.8 million.

The announcement, however, surprised potential pilgrims, many of whom had begun contacting their pilgrims’ boards to request a refund of the N4.9 million deposit.

The Kwara State Pilgrims Welfare Board had also said that no fewer than 100 intending pilgrims from the state would miss this year’s Hajj exercise.

Alhaji AbdulSalam Abdulkadir, the agency’s executive secretary, made this known during a sensitisation programme held for the intending pilgrims in April.

He said the affected persons were those who could not complete the additional N1.9 million added to the fare.

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