2015 Hajj: Carriers suffer our Pilgrims in Jiddah – Kaduna Amirul Hajj tells El-Rufai
By; Mohammad Ibrahim, Kaduna.
Kaduna State 2015 Amirul Hajj to Saudi Arabia, Emir of Birnin Gwari, Mallam Zubair Jibril Magwari ll has said the state pilgrims were put through untold hardship by airline operators in Jeddah, Saudi Arabi
He made this disclosure shortly after presenting the 2015 Hajj report to the state governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House (Government House), Kaduna.
“We told the state government that in 2015 we really suffered untold hardship during the inbound journey to Nigeria in the hand of the airline carriers because majority of our pilgrims spent over 24 hours at Jeddah Airport.
” To allow for effective control of flight arrangements, the board should be given free hand to choose its own Air carriers. This is part of our recommendations in the report.
“We also told the state government that since pilgrims Camp at Mando is owned by the state government, there is no justification for National Hajj Commission of Nigeria NAHCON to continue collecting 5, 000 naira development levies from pilgrims for upkeep.
“We recommend a refund by NAHCON of the amount collected for this year’s Hajj operation as well as for previous years. The feeding arrangement which is entirely being shouldered by NAHCON was with many challenges.
“We recommend that the state should takeover negotiation for feeding arrangements of its pilgrims.
“We also recommend that emphasis should be placed in selecting mostly medical personnel, tour guides and pilgrims officers to accompany pilgrims to hajj because we observed that pilgrims are being abandoned as soon as officials reached the holy land.
“We also recommend a total overhaul and restructuring of the Pilgrims Welfare Board for efficient service delivery. The Board should be manned by competent personnel as their duties are not only spiritual but diplomatic as well,” he said.
On the pilgrims that died during the Crane collapse tragedy that occurred in the holy land, the Amirul Hajj said “the State Board in liason with NAHCON should ensure the processing and claim of benefits in respect of victims from relevant authority.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai represented by his Deputy, Barnabas Bala Bantex thanked the state Amirul Hajj team for a job well done assuring them of his government readiness to give the report the attention it deserves.
He also congratulated them for winning an international award during the exercise in Saudi Arabia, saying the 2015 Hajj team really brought honour to the state.