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2018 Hajj: NAHCON jittery as Saudi slams March 31 deadline for registration

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2018 Hajj: NAHCON jittery as Saudi slams March 31 deadline for registration

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has slammed the March 31 Hajj registration deadline on Nigeria, setting jitters down the spine of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON). National Commissioner in Charge of NAHCON’s Policy, Personnel, Management and Finance, Alhaji Yusuf Ibrahim, who declared this in Lagos, maintained that Riyadh had mandated Nigeria and other countries to conclude Hajj preparations immediately after Shaaban (8th month of the Islamic calendar). The NAHCON, Ibrahim said, is worried over the low turnout of intending pilgrims for registration ahead of the 2018 pilgrimage exercise.

“Most intending pilgrims usually pay after Ramadan (9th month),” he declared at a sensitization meeting held for southwest stakeholders comprising Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, and the Armed Forces. Assuring pilgrims that the difference in Hajj fares between last year and this year operations would not be much, Ibrahim He advised intending pilgrims to pay on time.

“Intending pilgrims are advised to pay their money before the end of March to aid early preparations especially in view of the various policies newly introduced by the authorities,” he said. Saudi Arabia has also introduced five per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on all goods purchased in the Kingdom, he added. “First and foremost, the Saudi authorities have told us that immediately after Shaaban, all preparations about Hajj should be concluded. Nigerians don’t normally pay until after Ramadan. So we want to educate them that when you plan early, you achieve better result.

Saudi will not wait for Nigeria because Hajj is being performed all over the world. “So we have to key into that system to educate our people to pay their money before Shawwal because after Shawwal you can’t perform the Hajj again,” the NAHCON commissioner said.

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