Hajj Commission accused of sabotaging pilgrims airlift

Hajj Commission accused of sabotaging pilgrims airlift

By Ojo Sola, Kaduna

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria(NAHCON) has been accused of sabotaging the activities of Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board in the ongoing airlift of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia back to Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement signed by Ibraheem Musa, the head of the media team of the Kaduna State for the 2015 Hajj.

According to the statement, “A member of Kaduna State Amirul Hajj Team and Commissioner of Local Government, Alhaji Muhammad Bashir Saidu made this allegation on Friday in an interview with newsmen in Makkah.

“Alhaji Bashir also accused the Chairman of NAHCON, Barrister Abdullahi Muktar Muhammad of usurping the powers of Kaduna State pilgrims Board and annexing it to his office.

According to him, the Chairman of NAHCON had promised that pilgrims will be airlifted from the Holy Land back home on the basis of first-in, first-out during the flag off of the maiden flight to Saudi Arabia at Kaduna airport on August 23.

The Commissioner pointed out that Kaduna state pilgrims were the first to be airlifted during this year’s Hajj and he wondered why its pilgrims were not the first to be airlifted back home.

‘’Instead of airlifting Kaduna pilgrims first, NAHCON had concentrated on Kogi and Kwara pilgrims,’’ he further alleged, adding that ‘’when it came to Kaduna state, the commission sent 300 passenger-capacity aircraft with several of NAHCON pilgrims on board.’’

Lamenting the situation, the member of the Amirul Hajj Team said NAHCON had asked Kaduna state pilgrims to report to Jeddah only to be abandoned by the commission for about two days.

Alhaji Bashir pointed out that NAHCON is supposed to be a mere regulatory agency because individual state pilgrim boards are to deal directly with the air carriers.

‘’Right now, the commission has relegated state pilgrim boards to a third party, which is not supposed to be so,’’ he said.

According to the commissioner, when his team and the Chairman of Kaduna State Task Force on Hajj 2015 as well as the Overseer of Kaduna Pilgrims Board went to Jeddah to find out what was delaying the airlift of pilgrims, ’’nobody listened to us.’’

He further pointed out that the team asked for a flight schedule and up till the time of filing this report, ‘’no one has given us anything.’’

Alhaji Bashir accused the Chairman of NAHCON of deliberately frustrating the return journey of Kaduna pilgrims in order to portray the state government in bad light. He promised
that government will probe this alleged sabotage.

Meanwhile, efforts to get Malam Uba Mana, the spokesperson of the NAHCON proved abortive as his Saudi line didn’t go through.

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