Sanwo-Olu flags-off Hajj Savings Scheme
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, flagged off the Hajj Savings Scheme for South-West states of the country, designed to encourage intending pilgrims to save towards actualising their dreams of performing the Holy pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia as enshrined in the Holy Quran within a specified period of time.
The scheme is a tripartite arrangement between the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), States’ Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Ja’iz Bank.
Speaking at the event, Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the deputy governor, Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, described the scheme as a welcome development, saying it could not have come at a better time than now that the global economic meltdown was affecting virtually everybody and countries of the world, including Nigeria.
He added that the launch reflected the spirit of oneness amongst all stakeholders and a demonstration of their commitment to key into the initiative and ensure the successful implementation.
“It gladdens my heart to note that this official launch reflects the spirit of oneness amongst all the stakeholders which have made it possible for all of us to gather here today to witness this historic event. It is also a demonstration of the resolve by key stakeholders to key into this initiative and ensures its successful implementation,” the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu, while commending the management and staff of NAHCON for finding Lagos State worthy of hosting the flag-off of the project for the South-West zone, assured the Commission of the state government’s support to all its laudable initiatives aimed at improving the narratives of Hajj operations in the country, including the Hajj Savings Scheme.
Speaking further, the governor called on Islamic clerics in the state to enjoin their followers to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols as the disease is still very much around and active.
“The disease is still very much around and active, we must, therefore, ensure that we know our status and adhere strictly to the laid down protocols of social distancing, regular handwashing with soap and running water, using the hand sanitizers, wearing of face masks, avoid hugging, handshake and large gathering, among others,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, described the scheme as significant, being the first of its kind.
According to him, it is the first time since Hajj operations began in Nigeria that a full-fledged contributory Hajj Savings Scheme would be introduced in the country, saying that it was with a view to ameliorating the financial burden usually being experienced by intending pilgrims, especially the less privileged in the fulfilment of the Haji rites as enshrined in the Holy Qur’an.
He stated further that the initiative would have a positive impact on Hajj administration in Nigeria and go a long way at creating an enabling environment for intending pilgrims to contribute gradually towards the actualisation of their dream of becoming an Alhaji or Alhaja in no distance future.
Elegushi implored the people to tap into the great opportunity provided by the scheme by registering immediately with Ja’iz Bank Plc to start contributing.
NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, in his remarks, stated that the introduction of the Hajj Savings Scheme was one of the strategic moves to achieve the desire of making Hajj affordable for average Nigerian Muslim as enshrined in the establishment Act Section 7 subsection 1 which empowers the commission to establish, supervise and regulate a system of Hajj Saving Scheme to be operated by the Pilgrims Welfare Board of each state and FCT for interested pilgrims.
He added that the operationalization of the scheme was historic in the Commission’s long walk towards self-financing that would wean it from depending on the scarce government resources which can be utilized for the provision of infrastructure and other social services in the country.
Hassan noted that the core of the scheme is a developmental approach that seeks to liberalise payment, build value chains and overcome the infrastructure deficit and as well address the issue of poverty inequality in the country, adding that the scheme would avail intending pilgrims or depositors various options in which they can participate or be enrolled.
While calling on all stakeholders to embrace the scheme in order to enjoy the enormous accruable benefits, the Chairman assured prospective pilgrims subscribers of proper supervision and maintenance of their savings and maintenance of a queuing process through ICT that ensures a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ja’iz Bank, Mr Hassan Usman, disclosed that the launch of the scheme in Lagos was a further affirmation on the enormous belief the bank had on the Lagos Muslim Community to embrace the innovative initiative and make the scheme a grand success.
He added that the bank is committed to the scheme and was ready to support it with first-class technology, infrastructure and well self- investment management practices.
“I look forward to taking the next step towards our common goal of a better, more affordable, convenient and efficient Hajj System for all in the country,” he said.