Hajj 2017: Financial Misappropriation And Diversion Of Funds Rocks Plateau Muslim Pilgrim Board

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Yakubu Busari

The Plateau Muslim Pilgrim Board has been accused of financial misappropriation as well as the diversion of the board’s fund which is in excess of millions during the 2017 Hajj.

In a press statement made available to our correspondent in Jos signed by Auwal Abubakar and Comrade Abdullahi Auta, Chairman and Secretary of concerned Muslim group accused the Pilgrims board of misapplication of funds.

Auwal Abubakar said, “We wish to write on the matter of urgent importance concerning the State Muslim Pilgrims welfare board which now stinks with corruption as the Muslim ummah suffered untold hardship while in the Holy Land under the leadership of the Commissioner for Local Government and chieftaincy affairs.

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“We appreciate Allah, who has within His infinite powers, ability, mercy, and protection, made it possible for the safe airlift and subsequent returned of the State contingents, to this year’s (2017), hajj operation, at the Holy lands of Makkah and Madina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“However, our findings revealed that the operation was not devoid of avoidable technical difficulties, mainly caused as results of poor management from the board, which consequences furthered, put the pilgrims into hardships.

It is on record that the State pilgrims were kept at a far distance residence, from the Ka’aba (Holy Mosque), in Makkah, leading them to almost 40 minutes of trekking, which had caused sufferings onto them, contrary to the boards’ statements, that they have gotten accommodation close to the Ka’aba,” the petitioners said.

According to petition it reads; “It is also on record that most of the board officials were not seen by the pilgrims, talk less of seeking any guidance or assistance from them, our findings further revealed that the conduct of the board officials was characterized by an alleged financial fraud involving the traveling allowances of some of the government officials to the operation.

‘Sir, it is with recourse to the Act or laws that established the board, that we write to let you know that there has been monumental fraud in the administrative running of the board, with gross scandal in the allocations of government-sponsored seats, a situation whereby some of the board officials conspired with the SGS and sold them. We have had cause to petition you on the matter.”

“We observed that since the inception of your rescue administration, the board has witnessed less rescuing efforts, for instance, the case of alleged misappropriation of over N190 million under Alhaji, Danlami Abdullahi Walin Kantana in 2015, that also led to leftover of another 35 deferred intending pilgrims.

The 2016 operation of the board was not in any way exceptional in the recurring situation, just as the concluded 2017, was marred by same avoidable fraud and incompetencies of some officials within the board.

The long stay of the State contingents in Saudi Arabia, for more than 40-days even after hajj was due to none proper arrangement by the board with airline carriers.”

Sir, it is our firm belief that the board problems under your regime were as a result of none constitution of substantive Executive Secretary, as well substantive chairman and his board members, who will, in turn, ensure the effective functioning of each department within the board.”

“While some States in the country have since commenced preparations for next year’s hajj the board here is even yet to evaluate its past activities.

“We therefore, urge that you carefully and religiously expedite actions of putting in place people of impeccable characters to lead the board and also direct the State head of service to ensure redeployment of none performing directors in the board, in particular, those of finance and administration, for certainly the rots in the board is monumental.

In conclusion sir, we reiterate our appreciation to you for your concerned about the board, consideration to the 2014 deferred pilgrims, and the sponsorship of 229 Muslims to this year’s Hajj operation.”

The group indicted the Pilgrim officials for siphoning the money meant for their accommodation for their personal use and that this caused them untold hardship while In the Holy Land.

However, efforts to speak with the Acting Executive Secretary Muslim Pilgrim board Chairman proved abortive as he refused that as a civil servant they are not allowed to speak to the press.  Our correspondent was in his office several times but he, however, refused to speak.

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