We are 70% ready for 2024 Hajj exercise – NAHCON

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), says preparations for the 2024 Hajj exercise has reached about 70 per cent.

Its Chairman, Alhaji Jalal Ahmad-Arabi, told journalists in Birnin Kebbi on Sunday, that the commission would ensure a successful Hajj exercise.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ahmad-Arabi was in the state for a facility tour at the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport and the Kebbi Hajj camp.

The tour is to ascertain the suitability of the airport to be one of the centres for the airlift of pilgrims during the 2024 Hajj operation.

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He said: “So far so good, we are almost 70 per cent ready, and we are not late, nobody should feel discouraged and nobody should fear.

“Once you have paid and it has been acknowledged, within no time we will get to the next stage, which will be the issuance of the visas”.

Ahmad-Arabi commended the state for an excellent preparation, adding that, “Kebbi is well in advance, everything has been done for the intending pilgrims in the state, we are only waiting for the gun to be blasted, the rest will begin Insha Allah”.

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He lauded the state government for its commitment towards addressing impediments highlighted at the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, hitherto hindered the airlift of pilgrims.

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The Chairman said the visit availed him the opportunity to get first-hand information about the airport, adding that, “the commission has no doubt that the facilities will be put in place, but seeing is believing.

“By the time we see and compare it with those that have probably been complaining about it in the past, everything would have been sealed.

“So, I will congratulate Kebbi in advance, because they have met the target and nothing should stop a flight out of Kebbi airport.”

On exorbitant Hajj fare, the chairman attributed it to küresel economic realities and exchange rate, insisting that it has not changed.

“It means the fare that was paid last year is almost the same money that is being paid this year. But since it is in a foreign denomination, going by the exchange rate, certainly the results will be different.

“Perhaps last year, the exchange rate was N300 to N400 to a dollar, but what do we have today?” he asked. (NAN)