The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has made a U-turn on its promise that pilgrims won’t pay the extra cost of $250 on airfare as a result of the ongoing crisis in Sudan.
The increased fare was introduced because of the shutdown of the Sudanese which will now cause a longer travel time to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
NAHCON, therefore, charged the pilgrims to pay 40% of the added $250 to the fare.
But speaking in Abuja during a training exercise organised for staff of NAHCON, state pilgrim boards and private tour operators,
Recall that the NAHCON chairman, Zikrullah Hassan, while speaking at a training session with the staff, state pilgrim boards and private tour operators assured that pilgrims would not be made to bear the emerging additional cost
“Our local airlines after several negotiations accepted the sum of $250 to the increase in the cost of air tickets for this year’s operation because of the conflict in Sudan and we are praying that the mindless killing of people will be stopped soon.
We are still paying earnestly for a quick and peaceful resolution to the conflict in Sudan so that the airspace could be open and there will be a stop to the mindless killing of the people of Sudan.”
“We have decided that whatever decision we will take, it will not require the pilgrims to pay additional funds into the hands of the respective pilgrim boards in their state. They will not need to pay more money,” he had said.
However, in a statement on Monday, NAHCON’s Deputy Director of Information, Moisa Ubandawaki, said the commission decided that the pilgrims would pay 40 per cent ($100) of the hike in airfare after the Federal Government subsidised operations for airlines to make the airlift.
“This would further alleviate the additional cost of the airfare for the Nigerian pilgrims. The government had earlier waived 65% of the aviation charges to bring down the cost of Hajj. With this development, the $250 addition negotiated with the airlines will be reduced by $55.
“The liability of the remaining $195 will be borne by the 75,000 pilgrims which is calculated at $117 per pilgrim to offset the $117 without causing additional financial obligations on the Pilgrims, the Commission resolved to reduce the Basic Travelling Allowance for 2023 Hajj Pilgrims to the sum of $700 against $800.00 provided in the Hajj package already paid by the pilgrims,” the statement added.