2024 Hajj Operations Worst In Recent History – Gov Bago Says

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…Alleged that NAHCON defrauded pilgrims

Niger state governor, Hon Mohammed Umar Bago has described the 2024 Hajj operations as the worst and the biggest scam in centuries when compared to previous Hajj.

This was as he queried the expenditure of the N90 billion subsidy paid by the Federal Government for the Hajj operation and said there was the urgent need for the National Assembly to probe the fund.

He said that in spite of the N90 billion in addition to some States including Niger paying billions of naira, it was surprising that pilgrims were only given $400 to take care of themselves for about 40 days in spite of the payment of N8 million paid by each pilgrim

The Governor has therefore vowed to lead an aggressive protest against the management of the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) for allegedly defrauding Nigerian Pilgrims during the 2024 Hajj operations.

Bago disclosed that Niger State recorded six deaths of pilgrims, saying that two of the recorded deaths were due to medical challenges while four were as a result of heat wave.

Bago specifically called for the upward review of the activities of NAHCON, stressing that this year’s operation was nothing but a sham and a scam carried out by the management of NAHCOM.

Governor Bago, who stated these during an interview with some journalists in Saudi Arabia, noted that the activities of the management of NAHCON were clearly fraudulent.

He particularly expressed concern over the Alhaji Jalal-led NAHCON management which he noted turned itself into an operator of Hajj activities instead of being a regulatory body.

Bago recounted the hitches pilgrims encountered, stressing that the 2024 Hajj exercise was a complete failure and therefore suggested that Hajj operation should be private sector driven for effective and efficient service delivery.

He said; “I will lead a committee of state Governors to meet with relevant authorities for a review of the activities of NAHCON for smooth Hajj operation.

“Let the private sector drive Hajj operations. NAHCON should be a regulator at the center. If NAHCON must exist, then they should strictly be a regulator. I am leading a committee of Governors to the NGF, from there we go to the NEC.

“I will propose this motion, and we will send a bill to the National Assembly where this issue of NAHCON would be reviewed.
“NAHCON is not helping matters. Our Federal Government is too big to be worried about Hajj operations. These are supposed to be Local Government issues and not even State issues. State Government should be able to organize pilgrimage and get agents from the private sector who will do these things the best way as other countries are doing it,” Bago stressed.

The governor said that the N90 billion would have made more impact if it was shared to the states, adding that the money was enough to run the Universal Basic Education budget for four years.

Bago also said that Hajj operation should not last beyond two weeks

NAHCON management could not be reached for response just as attempts made to get its Director of Information to comment on the serious allegations were not successful as their telephone lines were switched off.

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