…extends payment deadline by three days

In a sudden turn of events, the Edo State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has announced an increase in the Hajj fare for the 2024 pilgrimage in accordance with a directive from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), coupled with an extension of the payment deadline by three days.

Sheikh Ibrahim Oyarekhua, the Chairman of the Edo State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, made this announcement in his office in Benin City on Sunday while in an emergency meeting with the board’s staff members and stakeholders, sending ripples across the intending pilgrim community.

Sheikh Oyarekhua, while addressing the stakeholders, revealed that intending pilgrims are now required to pay the balance of N1,918,032.91, while new registrations must be completed with N8,454, 464.70.

“The payment deadline has been extended, with the new cutoff set for Wednesday 27, March 2024, providing a brief window for compliance” Oyarekhua noted.

Furthermore, Sheikh Oyarekhua emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that the board is expected to remit the funds to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for further processing by the 28th of March. He urged intending pilgrims to expedite their payments to facilitate the necessary arrangements.

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In a plea for support, Sheikh Oyarekhua called upon the sponsors, and affluent individuals within the state to rally behind the intending pilgrims. He stressed the importance of fulfilling this religious obligation and underscored the collective responsibility in ensuring that all intending pilgrims are able to embark on this sacred journey.

According to him, “The decision to increase the Hajj fare and extend the payment deadline comes after exhaustive efforts by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and state boards to address operational challenges surrounding this year’s Hajj pilgrimage. While the announcement may pose financial challenges for some, it reflects the commitment of the authorities to ensure the successful execution of the pilgrimage amidst unprecedented circumstances”

“It’s important to spread this message. Please, let us all support in making this year’s Hajj happen. Failure to perform Hajj in a year comes with some serious implications. That is why there must be at least one or a few who must be supported to perform Hajj every year. That way, the whole community would have been saved from such implications”

“As a state, we cannot afford to miss Hajj this year for any reason. Edo has already been positioned as a critical state when it comes to Hajj matters especially in southern Nigeria. So, it will be too bad to miss it for any reason except it’s a general issue like we witnessed during COVID-19. It’s important we maintain our strategic position,” he concluded.

As intending pilgrims scramble to meet the revised requirements, the Edo State Pilgrims Welfare Board remains steadfast in its mission to facilitate a smooth and spiritually fulfilling Hajj experience for all participants.