The Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board on Sunday commenced the refund of over N13 million to 1,400 intending pilgrims for the 2018 Hajj, who had earlier deposited N1.5 million each.
The pilgrims had deposited the money pending the official announcement of fare for the 2018 Hajj in the state.
However, reports that while the pilgrims paid N1,535,505 in 2017 for the exercise, N1,490,614.05 was approved for 2018 for each intending pilgrim.
The Director Administration and Finance of the board, Mrs Hannatu Zailani, who distributed the refund, said each of the beneficiaries would receive N9,384.9.
“We are making the refunds because of the reduction of Hajj fare from the initial deposit made by some of the intending pilgrims with the board,’’ Zailani said.
According to her, 1,400 intending pilgrims paid N1.5 million as deposit while N13,138,930 would be refunded to affected pilgrims.
“Each intending pilgrims will be given N9,384. 95,’’ she said.
The director explained that the reduction was as a result of effort made by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in direct negotiations with service providers, especially accommodation providers in Makkah and Madinah.
“Saudi Arabian authorities were also persuaded by NAHCON to maintain the status quo of charge on feeding, transportation and making sure the intending pilgrims are not affected by the introduction of VAT by Saudi Arabia early in 2018.
“At state level, we waive administrative charges payable by pilgrims so that they could have lower Hajj fare,’’ she said.
She added that the remaining intending pilgrims have up to the end of June to complete the payment for their seats.