Gov. Bala wants Hajj operations decentralised, Gift 300 Riyal to pilgrims

Bauchi State governor Bala Mohammed has deplored the hardship faced by Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and accused the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) of not living up to expectations.

The governor, therefore, stressed the need for decentralising hajj operations. This would allow state governments to take full control of hajj affairs and ensure the adequate welfare of their respective pilgrims who paid for hajj fares through the State Pilgrims Welfare Boards.

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Bala Mohammed, according to a statement signed by the chairman of the state Hajj Pilgrimage Publicity Committee, Alhaji Yayanuwa Zainabari, expressed his displeasure while interacting with the state pilgrims at Mina, the city of tents in Mecca.

He observed that pilgrims are subjected to untold hardship in this year’s hajj exercise due to the unfavourable policies introduced by NAHCON and relevant stakeholders, especially the provision of fewer than $500 as Basic Travelling Allowance (BTA) to each pilgrim despite the exorbitant charges of over N8 million for a hajj seat.

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Mohammed, therefore, said state governors would work collectively to break NAHCON’s monopoly on Hajj Affairs if measures are not appropriately taken to address the challenges identified during this year’s Hajj exercise.

The governor pitied the Bauchi State pilgrims and announced a donation of 300 Saudi Riyal to each of the 2,685 Bauchi pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year as a Sallah gift.

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Meanwhile, the chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Jalal Ahmad Arabi, addressed the Bauchi contingents at Mina in Saudi Arabia and said most of the challenges faced by the pilgrims were beyond the commission’s control.

Arabi, however, commended the Nigerian pilgrims for their patience and understanding towards achieving success in the hajj exercise

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