As the airlift of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj commences, Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a Civil Society Organisation which monitors and reports Hajj activities, has advised pilgrims to take advantage of the opportunity provided for them to pay for their sacrificial lamb (Hadaya) via Jaiz Bank ahead of their trip to the Holy land.
IHR also urged the pilgrims to desist from indulging in early shopping spree especially during their stay in Madinah.
IHR, in a statement issued on Monday by its national co-ordinator, Ibrahim Mohammed said Jaiz Bank is currently collecting the sum of N39,000 as Hadaya from Nigerian pilgrims on behalf of the Islamic Development Bank, IDB, the institution officially recognized for the purpose.
“ Pilgrims are advised to take advantage and pay their Hadaya fee ahead their trip because it is both cheaper and more convenient especially with the introduction of Value Added Tax ( VAT) by Saudi Arabian authorities this year,” IHR said.
It also said the advice to curb over spending by pilgrims became necessary because from past experiences, pilgrims, especially first timers spend a high portion of their Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), during their stay in Madinah and eventually face serious hardship before the start of return journey back home.
“ Besides, pilgrims with excess baggages often have difficulty moving from Madinah to Makkah and could easily be disorganized which will in turn lead them to lose focus of their primary purpose of undertaking the spiritual journey,” the statement said.
IHR also observed that despite the constant reminders, a number of pilgrims still carry with them some prohibited items such as Kola nuts.
“ We observed that a lot of the prohibited items were confiscated from pilgrims during screening ahead the inaugural flight at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja”
“Officials of State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards/Agencies or Commissions are advised to intensify their enlightenment to the pilgrims in order to have a smoother, more faster airlift exercise,” IHR said.