President Muhammadu Buhari’s hajj reform has saved Nigerian pilgrims billions of naira in the last three years, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has revealed.
Thr apex hajj regulatory agency said N75 billion was saved by the Buhari’s administration after it discontinued the US dollar concession policy.
The Head, Public Affairs Division of NAHCON, Fatima Usara, made the disclosure at an interactive session with media professionals, at the commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.
According to her, the aim of the interactive session is to highlight the achievements of NAHCON under the change administration of Buhari.
Usara revealed that the abolition of Hajj sponsorship by the current administration enabled the country to be saving N1.6 billion annually since 2015.
She said that in 2017, NAHCON, with the support of government, introduced direct accommodation negotiations with hotel owners in Madina and Makkah, thereby, eliminating agents and saved more than 14 million dollars.
Usara said in 2018, N229 million was saved through querying of local fees imposed on pilgrims by the various state pilgrims welfare boards, agencies and commissions.
She said as part of efforts to curtail fraud in the payment of Hadaya (Ram Sacrifice) Jaiz Bank, in conjunction with Islamic Development Bank, was designated to collect money and carry out the sacrifice for pilgrims.
She said: “This has prevented pilgrims from being defrauded of N1.6 billion annually.”
She said that the anti-corruption crusade of Buhari had provided solid ground for the Executive Chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Muhammad, to sanitise the management of Hajj and Umrah in the country.
Similarly, Usara said that the commission had succeeded in curbing the proliferation of unregistered tour operators by issuing licenses to authentic operators, instituted legal actions against defaulters and shutdown some.
She said: “All these achievements were recorded in NAHCON under President Buhari because of his political will and support to the leadership of the commission.
“President Buhari gave NAHCON Boss the go-ahead to reform and sanitise the management of Hajj and Umrah and to the glory of Allah, Nigeria is now rated among countries that are doing well in Hajj management in the world.
He said: This has helped the commission to curb waste; and acquired Metro Plaza at the cost of N2.4 billion, only N587 million came as government contribution in form of Capital Project.”
The Commissioner of Operations, Inspectorate and Licensing, NAHCON, Alhaji Abdullahi Modibbo, said the commission was working assiduously to curb all forms of fraud associated with the registration of intending pilgrims.
Modibbo warned state pilgrims boards against collecting more than N500 for hajj registration form and advised intending pilgrims not to pay above the approved cost by the commission.