…“Our pilgrims are fine — NAHCON
…Prays: we will not record any death
By Ishola Balogun & Abdullah Usman
Plots to scuttle the smooth operations of Hajj activities for Nigerian pilgrims by some unpatriotic elements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been discovered.
The plot was discovered by some Nigerian sources based in Saudi Arabia, saying several meetings have been held by some group of person who are aggrieved by the elimination of middle men policy of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON,, to sabotage the smooth operations of Hajj activities so as to blame it on the commission.
It could be recalled that recent reforms which saw to the elimination of middle men in acquiring accommodation and other services have pitched NAHCON against some group of persons based in the Holy land.
Many Saudi based Nigerians have in the past been used as middle men to secure accommodation for Nigerian pilgrims. However, the introduction of the E- Track system by Saudi Authorities have exposed the unwholesome deals by the middle men. Nigerian pilgrims have been complaining against the soaring cost of hajj.
Since that decision, the so called middle men have vowed to “ take their pound of flesh” on NAHCON when the Hajj season starts.
In line with that wicked plot, a Saudi based Nigerian student, (names withheld) said various groups have been meeting and strategizing on how to achieve their dastardly act.
The source said some pilgrims currently in Madinah cooperated with the Saudi based middle men to “ infiltrate Nigerian Pilgrims and addressed the press alluding to poor services in order to humiliate the leadership of the Hajj Commission”.
Our source also said that a Saudi based Nigerian ‘middle man’ was seen at the hotel provided for FCT pilgrims asking them question and trying to abuse their minds.
He urged the media and genuine Nigerian pilgrims to “ watch out for these elements as they ready to bring the name of their country and faith to disrepute “.
However, NAHCON in a chat with Vanguard urged Nigerians to ignore the threat, saying the commission has gone beyond that level and would do everything possible to assist the pilgrims to achieve acceptable hajj.
A few months back a group of people based in the Northern part of Nigeria’ had written a petition to the House of Representatives alleging that they have been denied the opportunity to provide accommodation for Nigerian pilgrims in this year’s Hajj exercise.
Prior to this time, provision of accommodation have been the exclusive preserve of these ‘middle-men’ with its attendant huge cost.
However, in 2015, the commission alleged that the group collected huge amount of money from Kano state government to provide accommodation, but was provided.
The matter later degenerated to Media war with the group threatening legal action.
Reacting to the issue, official of the Media Relations, NAHCON, Mallam Adamu Abdullahi said that the issue did not start in Makkah, it started in Nigeria when they petitioned the National Assembly, and we have defended ourselves and even addressed the press on this. We have explained the role of NAHCON and the reforms put in place by the leadership of the commission. Even members of the ulamas have also spoken on that.
The issue is not new, but we should just forget about them. Their plans ab initio was that no flight would take off from Nigeria, Alhamdullilah, we have airlifted over 48,000 pilgrims, and by the grace of God, before the close of the airport, the raining pilgrims will be in the holy land.
“God knows NAHCON will not do anything to subvert the call of Allah to the Holy land, which is the fifth pillar of Islam. The issue before us now is how to assist the pilgrims to achieve Hajj Mabrur (acceptable hajj rites).
On the speculation of death of some Nigerian pilgrims, Mallam Adamu refuted the claim saying, “we have no such information and we ‘ll not record any death, insha Allah,” he prayed.