Count Us Out Of $500 BTA Reduction-NAHCON Tells Pilgrims

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…to sanction defaulting States

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has exonerated itself from the purported reduction of Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) to less than the agreed $500 per pilgrim for this year’s Hajj exercise.

Chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Malam Jalal Ahmed Arabi, disclosed this, while responding to questions on a Dutsen Kura Communications, (DCL Hausa), an online Tv/ Radio channel. The program was monitored in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, June 2nd, 2024.

He said the issue of paying BTA is the sole responsibility of State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards, not NAHCON.

“Therefore, we are appealing to States and FCT to deploy every means possible to give pilgrims the BTA entitled to them.

“We in NAHCON had arrangement with the States and FCT Boards to give $500 US Dollars BTA to each pilgrim as contained in our documents.

“Pilgrims were informed that they will receive $500 BTA and no any other contrary official arrangement to that effect. Therefore, State and FCT ought to have communicated to the pilgrims any last minute challenges that might hinder full payment of BTA to avoid suspicion”, he noted.

On complaints from Nassarawa and the FCT pilgrims who were paid less than $500, the chairman said NAHCON had advised all states to meet with their pilgrims and their banks especially the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to resolve the matter.

“NAHCON is not aware of any agreement to pay pilgrims less than $500 BTA”. If at all any challenge arose to affect this arrangement, the state pilgrims’ board officials should have informed the pilgrims.

The chairman added that the Commission will continue to give account to the public and sanction where necessary to defaulting States, in accordance with the Act establishing NAHCON.”

Malam Arabi however, commended states who fulfilled the promise of paying their pilgrims the agreed $500 BTA.

He advised other states to meet with the banks with a view to intimating them on the implication of paying less than the earlier agreed amount.

Recall that the commission had informed the States Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Boards that pilgrims that paid N6.617 million or N8. 254 million North and N8.454 million South as their Hajj fare through the states will be given $500 Basic Travel Allowance.

The BTA is included in the hajj fare to enable pilgrims access foreign currency in Saudi Arabia to cater for personal expenses during the hajj exercise.

Pilgrims from states were paid $800 as BTA since 2016 until the last board of NAHCON reduced it to $700.


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