Vice President Kashim Shettima, yesterday, revealed that President Bola Tinubu’s administration had subsidised the cost of the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage with N90 billion.

He spoke at the inauguration of the 2024 National Hajj operation, held at the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital.

“You may recall that this year, we had a major challenge in announcing the final hajj fare for the 2024 Muslim pilgrimage due to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

“President Bola Tinubu also works round the clock to control the downward spiral of our local currency to bring relief to our pilgrims and other Nigerians; a move that eventually succeeded in lowering the fare. The President approved the release of N90 billion to subsidise the cost of pilgrimage for this year’s hajj.”

He said Tinubu’s administration attaches immense importance to religious pilgrimage due to the role it plays in transforming behavioural and social vices of believers beyond performing the pilgrimage.

“Due to this high regard, the government took time to carefully select men of integrity with administrative acumen and records of selfless dedication to manage the affairs of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria in the interest of Nigerian pilgrims.

“Government at the highest level monitors all arrangements meant for the well being of our pilgrims, both in Saudi Arabia and within the country before embarking on the journey.

“We are aware of the provision put in place for the safety, security and comfort of the Nigerian contingents to the 2024 Hajj of our pilgrims.”

Shettima urged the pilgrims not to relent in praying for the success of Tinubu’s administration, peace and progress of the country.

“Indeed, it is through our collective prayers and individual contributions that our country will prosper,” Shettima said.

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Earlier, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, tasked Nigerian pilgrims on discipline in order to positively project Nigeria’s image.

He thanked the Tinubu-led Federal Government for its effort to ensure that the 2024 Hajj takes place.

“As you heard from the NAHCON Chairman that when all hopes were lost, light showed at one end, and today, we are having the inaugural flight for the 2024 Hajj.

“We never lost hope that we will go for Hajj. We are in an era of Renewed Hope. So, tell Asiwaju that his real hope is still being expected to shine everywhere.

“We are looking for more, we want more of good leadership. We want to thank the President for his leadership.

“We thank the Vice President and all governors, who have been standing by to help the common man to survive.”

NAHCON has stated that all outbound flights from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage would be completed before or by June 10.

No fewer than 50,000 Nigerian intending pilgrims will perform the 2024 Hajj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had allocated 95,000 slots to Nigeria for the 2024 pilgrimage.