The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it will commence registration for 2021 Hajj exercise by September 9, even as it expresses readiness to refund those who made deposits for the botched 2020 Hajj.
These were disclosed by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan while addressing a press conference at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja today.
“I want to announce that the Commission will commence registration for 2021 from the 9th of September. In the light of this, the e-Hajj portal for pilgrims’ registration for 2021 Hajj will be opened immediately for registration to commence,” Hassan said.
The NAHCON Chairman informed that the Commission would soon commence the much-awaited Hajj Savings Scheme, saying that with it the cost of Hajj would be made affordable in the future.
According to Hassan, “the operation of the much-awaited Hajj Savings Scheme will commence soon. The contributory savings scheme is an idea whose time has come.
“I believe with the scheme in place, we will be able to make the cost of in the near future more affordable as well as boost the economy of Muslim Ummah in terms of employment generation, revenue profile of the Commission and aid the long-term preparation/plan for Hajj.”
The chairman stated that those who made deposits for this year’s Hajj and desire to recover their deposits from the state pilgrims welfare boards or private tour operators would be refunded.
“However, those who may wish to leave or rollover their deposit for the 2021 Hajj shall be accorded the highest priority and right of first refusal in 2021 Hajj,” Hassan informed.
He added that the Commission had started the process of refund to the various state pilgrims welfare boards for onward disbursement to the pilgrims.
He advised intending pilgrims who made deposits but do not have bank accounts and wish for a refund of their deposits to hasten to open one, saying that, “if they are not ready or willing to hold a bank account, NAHCON strongly advises them to secure their deposit with the commission until 2021 or until they can move it safely.”
He told those who made their deposits with private tour operators and want a refund to approach their respective travel agencies with the duly signed service agreement.
Hassan stated that considering the fact that Hajj and Umrah did not take place this year, NAHCON management had decided to refund licensed tour operators their license fees and caution deposits.
The chairman further informed that the Commission had begun a transformation journey to the digital world, a strategic transformation plan (2020-2024), “in which our idea will be driven by technology innovation”.
While expressing regret over Saudi Arabia’s position on this year’s Hajj, which allows only a few residents of the Kingdom to perform the pilgrimage this year, Hassan declared that the decision was a wise one.
He, however, paid tributes to Nigerian intending pilgrims whose hope of performing this year’s Hajj was dashed and called on them to take consolation in the fact that nothing can happen without the permission of Allah.