As part of measures to ease the 2015 Hajj operations for Christians, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N160 to $1 exchange rate for the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commissions, NCPC.
Executive Secretary of the Commission, John Kennedy Opara disclosed this to State House Correspondents after briefing President Buhari on preparations for this year’s exercise.
“As you are aware, he has approved $1 to N160 for the conventional exchange rate for this pilgrimage operation and he also agreed that he will continue to encourage us particularly as we drive to ensure self sustenance, to make sure that the pilgrims are able to pay for the pilgrimages, removing government sponsorship.
“This is a journey and we are sure that we are going to succeed. So he was very happy with the entire process. We are praying that God will help us to be a source of strength to Mr. President, so that the Federal Government and States will spend the necessary resources on other things while the pilgrimage is self funding as time goes on.
“We are already running four pilgrimages in one year. The first is the Easter pilgrimage which has passed, the Youth Pilgrimage which we termed ‘operation catch them young’, the Family Pilgrimage and the overall pilgrimage. For those going to Israel for the eleven days trip, it is N379, 840 and for the youth pilgrimage it is going to cost N357, 000,” he said.
He explained that Nigerians on pilgrimage could now undergo skill acquisition programme organized by the Commission and Ministry of Agriculture in Israel.
He continued: “We are introducing the pilgrimage pilot lottery scheme that will enable people who are lucky to be able to go on this trip without much dependence on the States and the Federal Government.”

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