The Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a Civil Society Organisation that monitors and reports Hajj activities, has advised State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Agencies to educate intending pilgrims on the 2018 Hajj fare.
The group gave the task in a statement made available by its National Cooridnator, Malam Ibrahim Muhammad, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Muhammad noted that this year’s Hajj fare as announced so far by various boards and agencies across the country indicated a significant decrease from that of 2017.
He recalled that the Hajj 2017 fare rose from N998,000 in 2016 to N1.5 million due to a corresponding increase in exchange rate from N190/$1 in 2016 to N360/$1 in 2017.
He said that due to the efforts of the Federal Government through the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and the states pilgrim boards, the 2018 Hajj fare has dropped from N1.5 million to N1.4 million.
He added that despite the fact that exchange rate remains the same the 2018 fare was less than that of 2017.
Muhammad however said in spite the reduction in the fare, many intending pilgrims were not aware of the development due to information gap arising from inadequate enlightenment by the boards.
He observed that some intending pilgrims thought that the 2018 Hajj fare was the same as that of 2017.
According to him, the assumed increase has resulted to the low turnout recorded in number of registered pilgrims this year.
“IHR, therefore urge NAHCON and state pilgrim boards to use this opportunity to reconfigure the mindset of intending pilgrims by conducting enlightenment exercise on the 2018 Hajj fare.
“ This will enable those who are desirous of performing Hajj this year to hasten payment to ensure timely preparations for Hajj operation in the country,’’ he said.
NAN reports that more than 95,000 pilgrims from Nigeria are expected to join over two million Muslims around the world to perform the 2018 Hajj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.