Worries over NAHCON’s failure to refund Nigerians who missed 2022 hajj
Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) has described as worrisome the failure of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards (SMPWBs) to refund Nigerians, who could not perform this year’s pilgrimage, 67 days after the completion of 2022 Hajj operations.
About 3,000 Nigerians missed the 2022 hajj due to operational hitches on the part of NAHCON, SMPWBs and tour operators, despite fully paying the Hajj fare, pegged at N2.5 million.
IHR, a non-profit organisation that seeks transparency and accountability in hajj operations in Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement, yesterday, by its National Coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammmad.
The statement reads: “Despite the unprecedented disappointment and trauma experienced by intending pilgrims, NAHCON and SMPWBs are yet to refund them.”
The statement recalls that about 729 pilgrims from Kano, 93 from Kaduna and 152 Plateau pilgrims missed the hajj due to challenges of airlift and cancellation of visas.
“While we acknowledge that some intending pilgrims may opt to retain their deposits for 2023 hajj, such options are only tenable after NAHCON and SMPWBs formally announce their readiness to refund those pilgrims.
“Therefore, it is curious that 67 days after the 2022 hajj formally ended, NAHCON and some state pilgrims boards are yet to refund 2022 hajj pilgrims, who missed the pilgrimage due to operational defects,” it added.
The last batch of Nigerian pilgrims returned home on August 7, signaling the end of the 2022 hajj.
IHR further tasked NAHCON to abide by its own promise and refund the 2022 Hajj pilgrims without further delay.
“It is instructive that NAHCON Chairman, Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, had, on July 10, promised to refund each and every pilgrim that missed the 2022 Hajj,” it recalled.
IHR restated its commitment to ensuring that every pilgrim that missed the Hajj is refunded the exact amount of money they deposited prior to the Hajj exercise.