25th March, 2024




An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has warned hajj operators not to charge intending pilgrims higher than the current exchange rate of between N1,476.247 and N1,480 per dollar. Doing so will cause more hardship to 2024 pilgrims.


The warning was handed down on Monday, 24th March, 2024 by the Executive Director of the Islamic advocacy group, Professor Ishaq Akintola.


He said:


“As time draws closer for the 2024 hajj season and intending Nigerian pilgrims are struggling to meet the deadline set by hajj authorities to register for the spiritual exercise, we are constrained to cry out on behalf of intending pilgrims against the astronomical exchange rate being demanded by hajj operators.


“MURIC has it on good authority that intending pilgrims are told to pay an exchange rate of N1,625 per dollar whereas the current official Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rate as at yesterday 24th March, 2024 is N1,476.247 (selling) and N1,477.247 (buying). Unconfirmed reports say CBN is actually selling to Bureau de Change (BDC) at N1,300. 


“Data from the federal government trading portal showed that as from Saturday, 23rd March, 2024, importers will be charged N1,448.386 per dollar for import duty. The new rate represents a 7.89% reduction from the previous rate of N1,572.507 per dollar.


“Just as the Federal Government (FG) has adjusted its own import and export rates to conform with the current exchange rate, hajj operators owe it a duty to the poor pilgrims to scale down its own rate as well.


“We find the rate given to intending Muslim pilgrims discriminatory, irrational and unjustifiable. We are therefore constrained to demand a reasonable reduction in the exchange rate to be paid by 2024 prospective pilgrims. Charges being demanded by hajj operators must have a human face because hajj exercise is not necessarily a commercial enterprise and those engaging in it must manifest the fear of Allah (taqwah).”


“We are not unaware of the difficulties faced by operators in the face of fluctuation in the value of currencies. Nonetheless, we urge hajj operators not to charge intending pilgrims higher than the current exchange rate as at the time of payment while differences and undue charges are promptly returned.


“There must also be a way of working out the difference in view of the instability of the exchange rate with a view to refunding any excess charges to the pilgrims at the end of the exercise. Doing otherwise will cause more hardship to 2024 pilgrims.


“It should be noted that we are not asking FG to reduce the cost of hajj for us or to subsidise hajj. The days of Father Christmas syndrome are gone. All we are asking for is a just and equitable treatment. We are not asking for any favour for Muslim pilgrims. No preferential treatment. We are simply demanding that their Allah-given fundamental human rights are duly respected.


“If importers can be charged N1,448 per dollar for import duty, why should Muslim pilgrims be asked to pay N1,625? Folding our arms and pretending to be ordinary onlookers when the rights of Muslims are being abridged is not in our character. We are asking hajj operators to respect the rights of Muslim pilgrims. No more, no less.


“MURIC calls the attention of hajj operators to the warnings contained in Surat al-Mutafifiin (the Glorious Qur’an chapter 83 verses 1 – 36) against those who collect full payment but give less than required in measures, quantity or service. The ensuing verses paint gory pictures of the eschatological and punitive implications of this abominable attitude.”





Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Executive Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).