Independent Hajj Reporters, a civil society organization that monitors and reports Hajj and Umrah activities in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia has called on NAHCON, States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Agencies, and Licensed Private Hajj operators to immediately begin a mass enlightenment campaign to educate 2024 intending Nigerian hajj pilgrims on the few limited time allowed for registrations.
Specifically, IHR said Nigerian intending pilgrims should be made to understand that the era of registering for hajj a few days before the commencement of airlift is over for those who want to be part of 2024 hajjis.
According to a statement signed by the IHR national coordinator Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed, the call became imperative because of hundreds of inquiries they received from Nigerian Muslims who want to know whether hajj registration has commenced in their various States. This shows that most State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards did not undertake massive enlightenment to inform the general public of the dangers of further delay.
It further stated that the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah will begin the issuance of visas on the 1st of March 2024 and it will be closed on the 29th of April 2024.
Consequently, Hajj missions including NAHCON have been directed by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to conclude all accommodation and Masha’er contracts by February 25th, 2024.
More importantly, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has subjected the provision of tent space in Mina to an early conclusion of arrangement by Hajj participating countries.
IHR said there is no way NAHCON or state Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards could pen down any service contracts with service providers without knowing the exact numbers or near-to-perfect approximate numbers of registered pilgrims. This further shows how interknit and interdependent ‘timely registrations will have on the Hajj 2024 arrangements generally.
Despite the cramped and constricted time allowed for registrations, NAHCON and States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards failed to adequately and aggressively embark on an enlightenment campaign to impress intending pilgrims to begin registration so as not to miss out during the upcoming hajj.
IHR said it is extremely disturbing that only a few states have so far publicly announced the commencement of hajj registration with little or no emphasis on the short time available for registration.
The statement equally advises states’ Muslim pilgrims’ boards to lower their initial deposit from the announced N4.5 Million as these seem to have contributed to the slow registration being noticed across the states.