The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Tuesday said that from next year Nigerians wishing to perform Hajj for the second time would pay additional 2,000 Saudi Riyals based on new policy introduced by Saudi Authority.
The Executive Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad, disclosed this at the Pre-Arafat meeting with stakeholders organised by NAHCON in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
Muhammad said the policy would enable Muslims who wished to perform the exercise for the first time to actualise their religious obligations.
He said the commission would continue to ensure that state pilgrims welfare boards had given priority to first timers.
He described 2017 Hajj as a unique one because it came with many challenges, adding, “but with the support Allah, the commission is able to overcome it.”
According to him, despite the increase in hajj fares, 65,000 pilgrims were registered through the states, while 16,200 pilgrims came to Saudi Arabia through Private Tour Operators.
He said there was increase of over 10,000 pilgrims compared to the number of pilgrims that perform the exercise in 2016.
He said four Nigerian pilgrims had lost their lives since the beginning of the exercise, adding that the commission had recorded one delivery and a miscarriage.
Muhammad, however, did not disclose the identity of the pilgrims that died, stressing that NAHCON would first inform the families of the deceased before releasing their names to the public.
The chairman also said that the commission had made necessary arrangement to ensure smooth movement of pilgrims to Muna.
The Charge ‘d’ Affairs, Nigerian Embassy, Riyadh, Amb. Salisu Umar, stressed the determination of the embassy to assist NAHCON and Nigerian pilgrims to ensure successful Hajj Operation.
He appealed to the pilgrims to respect the rules and regulations of Saudi Authority.
Umar also advised the pilgrims to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration because of the harshness of the weather.
Dr Aliyu Tanko, Team Leader, Taradudiyyah and Jamara’at Arrangement, said Saudi Authority had introduced digital technology at Jamara’at whereby buses conveying pilgrims to Muna are installed with GPS device.
He, therefore, urged the pilgrims to comply with the innovation by turning out to the buses in time for easy movement.