Reports of alleged controversy in the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has been dismissed as the handiwork of mischief makers intent on distracting the Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammed-led leadership, sources have told this newspaper.
A section of the media (this newspaper not included) had alleged of divisions in the commission over the extension of the appointment of the Acting Chairman of the NAHCON.
Several officials, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media, told our correspondent that staff of the commission are proud of the achievements of the present leadership and welcome the re-appointment of the acting chairman and other members of the board.
“Who will not be proud of what the chairman (acting) and his team have done here? Today the management have given us a befitting office complex valued at over N2 billion that is the Metro Plaza.
“Also, our commission has now become a financially self-sufficient agency that can fund hajj with little or no government fund, embarking on renovation/upgrades of hajj camps across the country from development levy and reforms of administration of hajj through innovative information communication technology,” one official said.
Also, another staff of the commission said it was a milestone for the Islamic Development Bank, reputed for its financial discipline and integrity, to partner with the NAHCON in its programs.
“This speaks to the great works being carried out by Mallam Mohammed and his team. If anybody says there is controversy, it is simply mischief and it should not be so amongst the Muslim Ummah,” the staff said.
According to the staff, Saudi Arabia Hajj authorities now rate Nigeria as the third best hajj organisers in the world. “Nigeria pilgrims for the first time are being refunded for service not render or rendered unsatisfactorily. Honestly, they deserve another opportunity to complete this cycle of transformation,” he added.
Speaking directly on the issue of the reappointment, a senior staff of the commission said the current chairman was permanent commissioner and not chairman, “so no sincere person can say he had served as chairman before, therefore no eligible for second term.”
“Let me tell you this, the people selling this fake story have no idea of the Furthermore, NAHCON Establishment Act 2006, because if they do, they won’t be waving any so-called letter other than the NAHCON ACT 2006 which separates the office of chairman as a distinct office from the three permanent commissioners. Office of Chairman as the chief accounting officer is not and cannot be the same as the office of permanent commissioner.”
This newspaper looked up on the composition of the commission, and Section 3 (1) states that the commission shall consist of (A) The chairman who shall be:
The Chief Executives and accounting officer of the commissionResponsible for the commission for the day to day management of the commission
This was followed by section 3 subsection (b) which stated that “Three full-term members and six part-time members representing two geopolitical zones two who shall be women.
Another management staff of the commission expressed shock at the introduction of ethnicity into the affairs a religious body by people of the same faith.
“It is really unfortunate for anybody to attempt to attach ethnic or regional yardstick to appointments in a religious body like NAHCON that is doing well in managing the affairs of Muslims concerning Hajj.
“In case you are not aware, out of the three permanent commissioners in NAHCON, the commissioner representing the South-East and South-South in the person of Dr Sale Okenwa has left NAHCON since 2015 and the Federal government is yet to appoint someone to fill the position.
“But no one from the zones has raised the dust of ethnic tension. That office is being headed by someone from the south-west. Official issues should not be personalized because as a Muslim, we all believed that it is Almighty Allah that gave power to whom he wishes.”