The Emir of Lafia, Dr Isa Mustapha-Agwai, on Tuesday has urged the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to reduce the fares for the 2018 Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
The emir made the call when he received officials of Nasarawa State Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Board at his palace in Lafia.
He warned that the astronomical fares being charged would deprive Muslims in the country from performing a very important religious obligation, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Mustapha-Agwai advised NAHCON to engage the Presidency and Saudi authorities to reduce the fares to enable more Muslims partake in the holy pilgrimage.
Earlier, Executive Secretary of the board, Alhaji Abubakar Nalaraba said the visit to the emir was part of state-wide advocacy to educate intending pilgrims on new innovations introduced by Saudi authorities for the Hajj.
According to him, the introduction of taxes and other innovations raised the tentative Hajj fare from about N1 million paid in 2017 to N1.5 million.
He said that the collection of the fares would end on March 31, 2018.
Nalaraba disclosed that intending pilgrims that succeed in completing the payment would go for bio-metric data capture in seven centres across the country, with those from the state having theirs in Abuja.
“For now, we are instructed to receive N1.5 million; last year the total hajj fare was N1, 545, 000, but this year we are instructed to collect N1, 500, 000 from intending pilgrims pending the final approval,” he said. (NAN)