NAHCON Explains Why Hajj Fare Varies for Nigerian Pilgrims
By Alabidun Shuaib AbdulRahman
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has Friday announced the final hajj fare for Nigerian pilgrims.
This announcement, however, sparked questions from some individuals about why pilgrims from different states have to pay different fares.
Responding, Mousa Ubandawaki, the Deputy Director of Information and Publication in a statement at the weekend explained that the cost of air travel, including charter flights, is influenced by the nautical miles an aircraft covers, adding that the airfare for Maiduguri and Yola departures is much lower than that for other Northern states and Southern Nigeria due to their proximity to Saudi Arabia.
Pilgrims from these airports spend less than four hours traveling to Saudi Arabia, while those from other regions spend five or more hours.
He emphasised that the commission worked for over two months to ensure that the fare did not become too expensive for average Nigerian Muslims, especially given the global economic crisis, inflation, and depreciation of the naira against the dollar. NAHCON was able to keep the price below 3 million naira despite these challenges.
According to Ubandawaki, the price and location of accommodation in Makkah is another factor that contributes to the differences in fares for pilgrims from different states.
“Some states require more expansive accommodations to house their pilgrims, while others do not.
“NAHCON’s role as a regulator is to ensure that the states comply with the benchmark and that the standard of accommodation is commensurate with the fare charged.
“The commission has been monitoring and supervising the negotiation process for accommodation prices to ensure compliance,” he said.
He added that the local charges imposed by different state pilgrims for administrative charges, uniforms, registration fees, and transportation shuttle also contribute to the differences in fares.
“NAHCON has limited control over these charges and can only set a cap on the amount that states can charge,” he noted.
NAHCON, therefore, assured intending pilgrims that the commission will continue to ensure that they get value for money and quality services, regardless of the differences in fares.
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