Zhikrullahi Hassan, who was nominated as Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, has promised to work toward ensuring that Hajj fares were reduced for Nigerian pilgrims.
Hassan made this known during his screening by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday in Abuja.
He also said the duration of stay for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia would be reduced if his appointment was confirmed by the Senate.
He described the current Hajj fares as “unaffordable” and needed to be reviewed downward, especially in the interest of the masses who wished to perform the Holy pilgrimage.
He said: “One of those key elements that has made Hajj unaffordable is the fact that we are not in a position to control the price and I know we need a savings scheme on that.
“The Hajj savings scheme, I believe, will be the answer to be able to put in abeyance the issue of Hajj fare increase on the rise.
“If Malaysia and Indonesia can do so, there is no reason we cannot do even better.”
On the duration of Hajj, Hassan said the rites last for between five and six days, adding that Nigerian pilgrims were being made to spend an average of 40 days in Saudi Arabia.
He said: “I know it is beyond us; we must find a way to think out of the box to reduce the number of days to be spent in the Holy Land.”
A member of the committee, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said the committee would engage the nominee if confirmed to ensure that pilgrims had a seamless Hajj.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, said the committee would be carrying out thorough oversight on NAHCON with a view to assisting the commission in effective discharge of its duties.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on December 3, 2019 nominated Hassan, from Osun State, as the new chairman of NAHCON.