Sanwo-Olu inaugurates Hajj Savings Scheme



Lagos State Government says it will support the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in all its laudable initiatives aimed at improving the narratives of Hajj operations in the country, including the Hajj Savings Scheme.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State gave the assurance on Sunday at the inauguration of the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) for South West States of the country, held at Ikeja, Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the HSS was first launched in Kano State for the Northwest on Oct. 4, 2020.

The scheme is a tripartite arrangement between the NAHCON, States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards and Ja’iz Bank.

It is designed to encourage intending pilgrims to save towards actualising their dreams of performing the Holy pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia as enshrined in the Holy Qur’an within a specified period of time.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, described the scheme as a welcome development.

According to him, it came at a good time especially as the global economic meltdown is affecting virtually everybody and countries of the world including Nigeria.

The governor noted that the launch of the scheme reflected the spirit of oneness amongst all the stakeholders adding that they would ensure its successful implementation.

“I commend the management of the commission and assure them of the state government’s support to all its laudable initiatives aimed at improving the narratives of Hajj Operations in the country including the Hajj Savings Scheme.

“I call on all Islamic Clerics in the state to enjoin their followers to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols as the disease is still very much around and active.

“The disease is still very much around and active.

“We must, therefore, ensure that we know our status and adhere strictly to the laid down protocols of social distancing, regular hand washing with soap and running water, using the hand sanitisers, wearing of face masks, avoid hugging, hand shake and large gathering,” he said

Earlier in his address, the Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Anofiu Elegushi, described the scheme as significant.

“It is the first time since Hajj operations began in Nigeria that a full-fledged contributory HSS would be introduced in the country.

“With a view to ameliorating the financial burden usually experienced by intending Pilgrims, especially the less privileged in the fulfillment of the Hajj rites as enshrined in the Holy Qur’an.”

Elegushi explained that the initiative would also go a long way in creating an enabling environment for intending pilgrims to contribute gradually towards the actualisation of their dream of becoming an Alhaji or Alhaja in no distance future.

The commissioner implored the people to tap into the great opportunity provided by the scheme by registering immediately with Ja’iz Bank PLC to start contributing.

In his remarks, the Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, said that the introduction of HSS was one of the strategic moves to achieve the desire of making Hajj affordable for the average Nigerian Muslim

Hassan said that the operationalisation of the scheme was historic in the commission’s long walk towards self-financing.

According to him, it will wean it from depending on the scarce government resources which can be utilised for the provision of infrastructure and other social services in the country.

The chairman noted that the core of the scheme was a developmental approach that sought to liberalise payment, build value chains and overcome the infrastructure deficit and as well address the issue of poverty inequality in the country.

“The scheme will avail intending pilgrims or depositors various options in which they can participate or be enrolled.

“It will protect intending pilgrims against potential fraudsters, boost the country’s GDP and provide economic power to the citizens.

“I call on all stakeholders to embrace the scheme in order to enjoy the enormous accruable benefits.

“I assure prospective pilgrims subscribers of proper supervision, maintenance of their savings and maintenance of a queuing process through ICT that ensures a first come, first served basis,” he said. (NAN)