The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has unveiled preparation for 2024 Hajj with allocation of pilgrims slots across participating countries in the world.
Consequently, Nigeria, has secured 95,000 pilgrims slots to perform the spiritual exercise on the Kingdom next year. The country was granted the large capacity partly because of its ability to exhaust the same allocation released in 2023.
Chairman of National Hajj Commission of Commission (NAHCON) Alh. Zikrullah Hassan disclosed the 2024 allocation Tuesday during an engagement with heads of state pilgrims agencies and leadership of tour operators in Abuja.
With the release of the national allocation, Alh. Hassan hinted that Hajj commission has subsequently approved allocation of 71,000 slots to 36 states, Federal Capital Territory FCT and the Nigeria Armed Forces for early preparation.
According to the state allocation, Kaduna 6,004; Kano 5,934; Sokoto 4,996; Kebbi 4,752; Katsina 4,513 and FCT 4,368.
In the Southwest, Lagos got the lion share of 3, 517; Osun 1,764; Oyo 1,386; Ogun 1,191; Ondo 491 and Ekiti has the list allocation of 246.
Similarly, Edo has 412; Cross-River 67; Imo 199; Delta 64; Bayelsa 58; Anambra 15 while Enugu got 14 pilgrims slots. Abia and Akwa-Ibo have zero allocation.
Chairman of the commission revealed that prospective pilgrims should expect high cost of Hajj 2024 fair considering the fluctuating nature of foreign exchange to local currency. Alh. Hassan noted that while Hajj fair would be determined by dollar exchange, the cost of air fair and services in Saudi Arabia will also play major factor in the overall cost of 2024 Hajj.
The NAHCON boss revealed that Saudi authority has announced that visa issuance to intending pilgrims will close 40 days before the date of Arafah, reminded Hajj managers that era of late entrance and concession to VIP is over.
” 2024 Hajj will be different entire to what we used to have because of the new dimensions introduced by the Saudi authority. For next year’s Hajj, issuance of visa will be closed 40 days before Arafah. Unlike our tradition where we would issue visa to VIP few days to Arafah. That practice is over.
” With the allocation of seats to states preparation has commenced. Ofcause, we are still addressing some challenges faced during the last hajj in the area of limited space and shortage of food at Muna, we have written formal complaints demanding for refund and apology. While awaiting that, we have forging ahead with 2024 exercise”.