By Aisha Babangida Salisu
A civil society organization, Independent Hajj Reporters, Tuesday urged Senate President Bukola Saraki to reconstitute the adhoc committee on hajj for improvement of hajj operations in the country.
The senate adhoc committee on pilgrims’ accommodation, logistics and offshore and onshore operations of hajj, is headed by Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi, APC). The panel submitted its report two weeks ago.
A statement signed by the civil society’s national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammad and publicity secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud, said the senate panel did a shoddy job that job that was dismissed by almost all Hajj stakeholders in Nigeria.
“The senate panel’s report has already been discredited by virtually all hajj stakeholders because its report is replete with fabrications,” the statement said.
“The first person to find fault with the report of the Aliero committee is the Nigerian consul- general to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mr Mohammed Yunusa, who raised serious integrity questions on the report,” the civil society said.
Ambassador Yunusa, in a telephone interview published by Premium Times on October 22, said “the Adamu Aliero-led committee only concocted lies aimed at disparaging the chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Mohammed.”
The diplomat also said the panel did not meet with a single Saudi organisation involved in Hajj affairs during their visit to Saudi Arabia.
“How can you say you are investigating the conduct of Hajj operations and officials, and you came all the way to Saudi Arabia and refused to meet with the ministry of Hajj, the Adilla in Madinah, hotel owners, caterers, car syndicate and Muassassah, among others,” the diplomat said.
The statement said Daily Trust of October 29, reported the chairman of forum of states pilgrims’ welfare boards, Alhaji Abubakar S. Pawa Dambo, as saying that “what the Aliero committee said in its report was only their own perception and imagination. I challenged the committee to back up their claims with facts and figures.”
Mr Dambo said it was unfair for the Aliero committee to draw such wrong conclusions even though it never deems it fit to invite them during its sittings.
The civil society said more worrisome are the counter allegations made by NAHCON against the findings of the committee that:
“The adhoc committee had invited one IG Wala to testify before it on matters that are currently subject of litigation before two courts with suit Nos FCT/HC/CV/3018/17 and CR/96/18.”
Independent Hajj Reporters said the senate panel made a counter-recommendation regarding a Saudi service provider on a matter in which there is a ruling by a Saudi court in Makkah, dated Muharram 5, 1439.
“This is the same Saudi based blacklisted accommodation provider that Senator Adamu Aliero’s committee met in Saudi Arabia as alleged by Ambassador Yunusa.”
The civil society said “we are therefore, calling on the senate to constitute another adhoc committee on hajj that will genuinely investigate the activities of NAHCON, state pilgrims boards, tour operators and other hajj stakeholders with a view to making hajj a memorable spiritual journey for Nigerian Muslims.”