EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian pilgrims eventually receive only $200 as BTA for 2024 Hajj

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The calamity that is the preparations for Hajj 2024 for Nigerian pilgrims continues Wednesday as they are forced to receive only $200 as Basic Travel Allowance (BTA).

Although, Nigerian pilgrims to last year’s Hajj were given $700 as BTA, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) had announced that the BTA have been reviewed downwards to $500 due to current challenges.

An official of a state Muslim pilgrim’s welfare board had eralier hinted Hajj Reporters that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has decided that only $200 will be given in cash, while the balance of $300 will be given in a card.

Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) had called on the CBN to rethink the idea of payment through cards because of the complexities involved and the demographic nature of the pilgrims who are mostly from the rural areas and will find it difficult to use a payment card.

HAJJ REPORTERS visited the FCT Transit Hajj camp on Weenesday for an on the spot assessment of how pilgrims from the FCT and Nasarawa state are processed for departure to the holy land and on inquiry, we were told by an official who declined to be named for safety reasons that the apex bank could only provide $200 in cash

“They only gave us $200 per pilgrim and at the cost of N1502 to a dollar. So, we have informed the pilgrims of the situation and advised them to accept it as the will of God.

“We have told them that what should be paramount in their minds is to travel and perform Hajj Mabroor, the reward of which is paradise. That is the only succour they have, but this year is really challenging to the pilgrims,” he said.

Another official, who also declined to be named said he doesn’t know if the CBN will eventually payback the balance of $300 to the pilgrims. “currently, we don’t know how the remaining balance of $300 will be paid whether it is going to be in cash or in card because we were told that CBN is adamant on the issue”. 

Kebbi Governor intervenes

Although the situation is the same for Kebbi state pilgrims who are in the inaugural flight for this year’s Hajj, Hajj Reporters gathered that the state governor, Mohammed Nasiru Idris had intervened and provided the balance of $300 to the pilgrims.

“Even the people travelling on the inaugural flight were also affected but the Kebbi Governor had intervened and provided the balance. The banks gave them $200 and the state governor struggle and provides the remaining balance for them. They are lucky,” a source informed Hajj Reporters.

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