By Olugbenga Salami
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has expressed disappointment over the alleged refusal of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT as well as Kaduna, Gombe and Jigawa States to allocate slots to intending pilgrims who enrolled through the Hajj Saving Scheme, HSS.
The FCT and affected states have attributed their actions to NAHCON/Jaiz Bank’s purported failure to timely remit the funds to their respective Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards, SPWBs
Reacting to the development through a statement signed by its Deputy Director of Information and Publications, Alhaji Mousa Ubandawaki, NAHCON, described the excuses of the states as baseless and unfounded, lamenting the inconveniences they have caused the category of intending pilgrims.
The statement reads: “We categorically state that such excuses are baseless and unfounded. It is pertinent to clarify that Jaiz Bank promptly remitted the HSS fares to the states well in advance of this year’s Hajj. This was even before many state pilgrim boards remitted their payment.
“Secondly, in our numerous consultations with the officials of the States Pilgrims Welfare Boards/Agencies/Commissions it was resolved that the allocation to pilgrims should be in the ratio of 60/40 percent to pilgrims under state boards and the Hajj Savings Scheme subscribers.
“So, it is expected that the Kaduna State Pilgrims Welfare Board should have reserved 40 percent which is 2000 of the allocation to the HSS. Even at this, only 108 of the 2,000 expected enrolled, via the HSS in Kaduna State out of the 6,255 allocated to them.
‘What is playing out lately is that some states have been doing everything to consistently undermine the Commission and the Scheme in many ways.
“While the Commission has continued to show patience and understanding with them obvious of the fact that a new scheme or policy takes time before it bears positive fruits, unfortunately, this is not the case with some states who have continuously strove to defame and blackmail the Commission in their contempt for the board and some of its policies.
“Therefore, we want to emphasize that the information disseminated by the Kaduna State Pilgrims Board and some others is not only false, but also malicious intended to vilify and blackmail the commission with a view to damaging its integrity.
“We, therefore, want to first thank the numerous subscribers on the HSS for their faith and trust in the scheme and we appeal to those who have been unjustly denied the opportunity by the various pilgrims boards to remain calm and abide by the law as the commission is working hard to deal appropriately with the issue and also bring to book those who are bent on undermining our policies or involved in denying them the rights to participate in the religious rites of Hajj.”