Intending pilgrims for the Hajj 2018 in Saudi Arabia have been warned to be cautious of some greedy tour operators who are determined to use unrealistic hajj fares as an initial deposit to attract customers.
The Executive Secretary of Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr. Muftau Okoya gave the warning today in his office at the Old Secretariat, Ikeja while addressing newsmen on the preparation of the Board for the forthcoming 2018 pilgrimage.
He observed that some tour operators have devised a method of using the low initial deposit to attract customers only to put unnecessary pressure on them when the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) announces the actual prices.
Okoya said that, though NAHCON is yet to fix price, the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has been very reasonable with the N1,350,000 as initial deposit fixed for this year’s hajj after considering all necessary financial indicators.
“No final hajj fare yet, we are only doing what we know how to do best. We will work hard to maintain our clean record as the best State Board in Nigeria”, he said.
The Executive Secretary advised that Nigerians should save in advance for the hajj exercise and desist from last minute decision which puts more pressure on them when it comes to paying the hajj fare.
“The saving culture will bring relief to intending pilgrims especially when the hajj fare is on the high side as a result of the exchange rate of naira to the dollar”, he stated.
While stating that the submission of forms has commenced, thereby enabling the agency register intending pilgrims directly on NAHCON’s porter, Okoya reminded those pilgrims who were part of 2015, 2016 and 2017 hajj exercise to budget extra 2000SR (Saudi Riyal) as an additional cost on the hajj fare due to the new policy of the Saudi Arabian government.
He expressed the readiness of the Board to accommodate intending pilgrims in a new hotel and to organize regular lectures and up-to-date Arabic lessons that will make the hajj exercise more worthwhile and spiritually fulfilling.