By G9ija

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria says the deadline for remittance of 50 per cent deposits of 2023 Hajj allocations by states and FCT pilgrims board remains February 28.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, made this known in a statement.

The statement was endorsed by Mousa Ubandawaki, Assistant Director, Information and Publications, on Thursday in Abuja.

Ubandawaki quoted Hassan as saying that any state that fails to meet the deadline would forfeit their hajj allocation or risk reduction.

He said: “Remittance to the commission in this past week has been abysmal and payment to service providers in Saudi Arabia remains the biggest assurance that Nigeria will participate in this year’s Hajj.

“Therefore, it is necessary to kick things off. By our calendar of events, final remittance to the commission should be concluded by February 28 to conclude our arrangements on time, as we do not want to give room to lapses.”

Hassan further implored the States Pilgrims Welfare Boards, agencies and commissions to cooperate with NAHCON and ensure compliance with the directive to make the 2023 Hajj successful.

He said: “We urge the states to respect the agreement on the distribution of hajj quota on the basis of 60 per cent for government pilgrims and 40 per cent for the hajj Savings Scheme subscribers.

“In the same vein, the commission is disturbed about cases of Hajj Savings Scheme subscribers being discouraged or pressurised to withdraw or migrate their deposits from the scheme to the state board, to be registered for this year’s Hajj.

“It should be emphasised that under the 2023 hajj policy, 40 per cent of intending pilgrims will be from Hajj Savings Scheme, while 60 per cent will be from the government, pay as you go.”

The NAHCON boss assured all stakeholders that no stone would be left unturned to ensure that the 2023 hajj arrangements and operations were hitch free.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that no fewer than 95,000 pilgrims from Nigeria are expected to perform hajj this year.