By Taofeek LAWAL, Abuja
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has announced September 9, 2020 as the commencement date for 2021 Hajj.
The chairman/chief executive officer (CEO) of the commission, Alhaji Zikrullah Olakunle Hassan, revealed this while briefing the media on the 2020 Hajj updates at the NAHCON Hajj House, Abuja.
According to him, NAHCON will commence Hajj registration for 2021 from September 9, 2021. “The e-Hajj portal for pilgrims’ registration for 2021 Hajj will be opened immediately for registration to commence and further guidelines will be issued in due course,” the NAHCON chairman stated.
Alhaji Hassan also added that provisions have been made for intending pilgrims who may want refund of their money from States Pilgrims Welfare Boards (SPWBs) and Private Tour Operators (PTOs).
He, however, said “intending pilgrims who may wish to roll over their deposits for the 2021 Hajj shall be accorded the highest priority and “Rights of first refusal in 2021 Hajj”.
According to him, “The commission has started the process of refund to the various state pilgrims welfare boards for onwards disbursement to the pilgrims. We believe that the various boards would by now have informed the public on the modalities for the refund of their deposits”.
He commended the SPWBs who have commenced the payment of refunds to their pilgrims.
The chairman/CEO also informed the media about the much-awaited Hajj Savings Scheme which he said will make the cost of Hajj operations more affordable in the near future as well as boost the economy of the Muslim Ummah in terms of employment generation, revenue profile of the commission and also aid the long-term preparation and plan for hajj.
In view of the fact that Hajj and Umrah did not hold in 2020, the NAHCON boss the commission’s management has decided to refund Licensed Tour Operators their licence fees and caution deposits. He also added that the commission has begun a transformation journey to the digital world, a Strategic Transformation Plan (2020-2024) for idea-driven innovations which will serve as tool to engineer a brighter future for NAHCON.
He said the commission has set out plans for post-COVID 19 and will continue to comply with Saudi Arabia’s laws and regulations as far as hajj is concerned and take directives from President Muhammadu Buhari for necessary guide.