*Action justifies FG’s zero tolerance for corruption —NACOMYO
By Haroon Balogun
The Executive Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, has said that the Commission would refund N1.7 billion to some 2015 Hajj pilgrims across the country.
Alhaji Mukhtar made the disclosure while inaugurating the 2016 Hajj Carriers Screening Committee in Abuja recently.
He explained that the money was for services not rendered to the pilgrims in terms of feeding, accommodation, change of accommodation, and for those who were unable to perform the Hajj last year.
The chairman said it was a tradition of NAHCON annually to make such refund but the volume in 2015 was higher than the previous years.
Mukhtar said that the Commission had evolved a strategy to make sure that all those who were supported received what was entitled to them.
He added that “after the 2015 Hajj, the Account Department of NAHCON carried out a thorough reconciliation with all service providers, both the Nigerian service providers and the Saudi service providers.
“They were able to come up with substantial amount that will be refunded to all the state pilgrims’ welfare boards and agencies and this amount is to the tune of about N1.7 billion,” he said.
Mukhtar said NAHCON had set up machinery to create awareness among the public who participated in 2015 Hajj to approach their respective pilgrims boards for the refund.
“We believe in the leadership of the state board, we appreciate their capacities to effect the refund in line with financial regulations and in line with the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.
The executive chairman also assured that proper monitoring of the refund of the money would be carried out by the Commission and other agencies responsible at the federal level.
Meanwhile, National Council of Muslim Youth Organization, NACOMYO as lauded NAHCON for the refund, describing the action as a wholesome development.
It noted that NAHCON’s action underscored Federal government’s zero tolerance for corruption and a significant step and determination by the NAHCON headship to addressing sharp practices that are allegedly associated with the annual pilgrimage exercise.
It called on state pilgrims Agencies and boards to ensure that the concerned pilgrims are paid accordingly and with orderliness.
NACOMYO urged all stakeholders to evolve a robust synergy that will revamp Hajj operations and enhancement of pilgrims’ welfare and the realization of hajj mahbrur.