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NAHCON urges clerics to educate intending pilgrims on new Saudi policies

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Muslim pilgrims / AFP PHOTO / Karim SAHIB

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has called on Muslim clerics to assist the commission in educating 2018 Hajj intending pilgrims on new Saudi Arabia policies on pilgrimage.

The Executive Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad, made the call during a town hall meeting for intending pilgrims and Ulama (clerics) organised by the FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board (FMPWB) in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had reported that Saudi Authorities had introduced some new policies for Hajj.

They include: Value Added Tax (VAT), Biometric Data Capture of pilgrims and 2000 Saudi Riyals charges for Hajj and Umrah second timers.

Muhammad said that the essence of the meeting was to involve all Imams, who were critical stakeholders in Hajj affairs in the enlightenment and sensitisation of intending pilgrims.

He said clerics were closer to the intending pilgrims because they lead Muslims in both Jumma’ah and five daily prayers.

“ So we feel and believe carrying you along, explaining some certain things to you will help us to convey the message down the ladder to the pilgrims. Human beings have a particular behavior, the person you know, who teaches you moral values, and teaches you who is your God and how to worship him”.

“You are bound to accept what comes from him more than any other government officials.

“That is why the commission decided that this kind of engagement with the Ulama, Jumma’at Imams will continue to take place in all the states of the country, and at the zonal level of the federation.

“We will make sure we involve as many Imams as possible so that they can help us convey the message down to the pilgrims,“ the chairman said.

He said that based on Saudi Arabian new policy, all pilgrims must undergo biometric data capturing, before they could be issued Saudi Visa.

He said that pilgrims would be charged five percent VAT for all their transactions while in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which underscores the need for enlightenment of intending pilgrims.

The NAHCON boss, who noted that the components of Hajj fares were 98 percent dollars, urged clerics to educate intending pilgrims on the need for timely payment of their fares.

He said that the Saudi Arabian calendar for Hajj operation had changed; hence the need for all intending pilgrims to complete payment of their Hajj fares before the end of March.

He said that Saudi Arabia would close portal for Hajj registration, reservation and all processes at the end of May.

He disclosed that days of paying Hajj fares after the month of Ramadan were over.

Director of the Board, Malam Muhammad Bashir, said that all stakeholders were working hard to ensure possible reduction of 2018 Hajj fares without compromising services that would be rendered to pilgrims.


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