‘Increase In 2024 Hajj Fares Unfair, Unacceptable’ – Sen. Ali Ndume Tells Federal Govt | MarvelTvUpdates

The Senate’s Chief Whip, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume has opposed the recent fare increase for intending Muslim pilgrims announced by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).

Labelling the hike as ‘unfair and unacceptable’, Ndume sees it as a strategy to exclude Nigerian Muslims, particularly those planning their first pilgrimage, from participating in the sacred exercise.

We gathered that in a statement released in Abuja on Wednesday, Ndume responded to NAHCON’s announcement of the fare adjustment, which the commission’s spokesperson, Fatima Sanda-Usara, made public on Sunday.

NAHCON justified the increase by pointing to the current exchange rate of N1,474.00 to a dollar, necessitating the revision of the cost for pilgrims.

Under the new rate, approximately 49,000 intending pilgrims who had previously paid N4.9 million each when the exchange rate stood at N897 to a dollar are now required to pay an additional N1.9 million each by March 28.

New registrants face a fee of N8.5 million each, reflecting the adjusted exchange rate.

Senator Ndume, in his reaction, argued against imposing such a significant additional financial burden on pilgrims, especially with the registration deadline looming.

Highlighting the importance of Hajj as one of the five pillars of Islam, he urged President Bola Tinubu to intervene by subsidizing the extra costs to facilitate the participation of first-timers in this year’s pilgrimage.

Furthermore, Ndume appealed to state governments to bear the additional expenses for intending pilgrims who are unable to afford the new rates set by NAHCON.

He emphasized the spiritual significance of the Hajj, which Muslims are required to perform at least once in a lifetime, and criticized the unfairness of denying pilgrims this opportunity after they had already settled the initial fees.

“The sudden hike in the fees intending pilgrims are expected to pay by NAHCON is unfair. You cannot impose such on them,” Ndume stated.

He called for urgent action to alleviate the financial strain on the pilgrims, advocating for government intervention to preserve the sanctity and accessibility of this religious duty.

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