Nigerian pilgrims will pay a minimum of N4.5 million for hajj seat this year, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said.
This was revealed on Tuesday after a meeting between the commission and the state pilgrim welfare boards in Abuja.
Nigerian pilgrims paid N3 million for 2023 hajj when the exchange rate was N450 to the American dollar.
At the meeting held at Hajj House Abuja on Tuesday, the commission directed the state pilgrims boards to collect a deposit of N4.5 million per pilgrim due to the fluctuations of the dollar to N740 at official rate.
NAHCON chairman Zikrullah Kunle Hassan said 2024 hajj fare would be expensive due to the unification of foreign exchange by the federal government.
Mr Hassan said, “I must tell you that next year’s hajj is going to be expensive. This is something we must prepare for, starting from today. I am not saying we will be able to know the cost today, but what we must be able to know is that the hajj is going to be expensive.
“This is because the age of the concessionary rate is gone. As we speak now, the forex is at N740 to dollar, so, if you multiply that with the dollar of hajj last year, you can imagine how many more million you will need to add to the cost of hajj. The government has been clear on it. Will the N740 come down? I don’t know, but I pray it comes down.”
The chairman said, the preparation for the 2024 had begun, adding that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would end the issuance of visa 45 days to Arafah.
He said, “By the 29 of April, visa issuance will close. 10 days after, pilgrims will begin to arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“Unlike what we do when it is two days to the closure of the flight, somebody will say my governor wants some people to go to hajj and look for the slot, the Kingdom says it is gone forever. It means you have between 40 to 50 days to Arafat when you can’t do a visa anymore,” he stated.