By Ajape Sefiu A.


The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has refuted the claim that Nigerian pilgrims currently observing the 2024 Hajj were served poor meals for breakfast after paying N8 million as Hajj fare.
NAHCON, reacting to the claims, said the photo circulating on social media and posted by a Facebook user, Babagana Digima, was doctored.
This was contained in a statement signed by Assistant Director, Public Affairs, of the Commission, Fatima Sanda Usara, posted via NAHCON X handle (formerly known as Twitter) @nigeriahajjcom on Wednesday, May 29.
The Commission further urged Nigerians to ignore the story, describing it as fake news. Usara said the story is not only false about the FCT pilgrims’ breakfast but also appears to be malicious. Speaking on the issuance of Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) to pilgrims, Usara assured that each pilgrim will eventually receive their due amount.

NAHCON full statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to a fake news on the Facebook page of one Babagana Digima, purportedly on the kind of breakfast being served Nigerian pilgrims after paying N8m as Hajj fare. After addressing the shared story from its root, we believe ethical journalism would not permit a sensible practitioner to lift a story solely from a Facebook source. What is more unfortunate is that the Facebook reporter is here in Nigeria, not in Saudi Arabia.

“Upon citing the story early this morning, NAHCON immediately drew the attention of the originator of the story privately and publicly to the inaccuracy of his claims to allow him to correct the wrong impression assuming he posted it innocently, unfortunately, he did not. Still several testimonies were posted on his page by pilgrims on ground in Makkah disclaiming the allegation with pictorial evidences, while NAHCON staff on the platform also provided a clear description of the actual meal that was served, proving that the picture was doctored and that it was a fake news conclusively.
“Unfortunately, Sahara Reporters ignored the responses and the free facts supplied on the page in preference for the sensational side. The medium simply amplified a lie it picked on Facebook with the doctored picture of today’s breakfast served to pilgrims of FCT in their hotel in Makkah, Nama Al- Asriya Hotel and spread it as news.
“The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria urges the public to ignore the fake news being circulated pertaining the FCT pilgrims’ breakfast. The story is not only false but also appears to be malicious.
“On another development relating to issuance of Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) to pilgrims NAHCON insists each pilgrim will eventually receive their due amount. As at 24th April 2024 when NAHCON paid BTA differential for the pilgrims, the Dollar exchange rate was N1,252 to a Dollar thereby N626,000 was paid to be exchanged at value of $500 (Five hundred Dollars). This is the figure that the Hajj stakeholders had agreed upon and which NAHCON declared and still stands by.
“However, information reaching the Commission currently indicates that the banks are issuing BTA at the current market rate of Naira to the Dollar causing a shortfall to the original value whereas pilgrims are supposed to be paid at the exchange rate obtainable on 24th April.
“The Commission assures pilgrims to remain calm as it would not allow their interest to be jeopardized in any way. The Commission has already taken up the matter and hopes to be resolved soon.