Journalists Urge Senate To Reconstitute Adhoc Committee On Hajj Probe

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Following the resumption of the Senate Tuesday, Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR) has called on the upper chamber to reconstitute its adhoc committee on Pilgrims accommodation, logistics onshore and offshore activities with a view to thoroughly and objectively look at ways of improving hajj operations in the country.

The adhoc committee, headed by Senator Adamu Aliero had a week before the Senate went recess presented its report at to plenary.

In statement jointly signed by IHR national coordinator Ibrahim Muhammad and Publicity Secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud it said “However, the report has already been  discredited by virtually all hajj stakeholders as a made up of fabrications.

The first person to find fault with the report of the Aliero committee is the Nigerian consular general to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mr Mohammed Yunusa who raised serious integrity questions on the reports.

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Mr Yunusa, in a telephone interview Published by Premium Times on 22nd of October said “the Adamu Aliero-led committee only “concocted lies” aimed at disparaging the chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Mohammed.

He also alleged that the Aliero led team did not meet with a single 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? 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 Muassassa,?” He queried.

Likewise, Daily Trust newspaper of 29 October reported that the chairman of Zamfara State Hajj Commission, Alhaji Abubakar S. Pawa Dambo, who doubled as the Chairman of state pilgrims welfare boards chairmen forum said “what the Aliero committee said in its report was only their own perception and imagination. He challenged the committee to back up their claims with facts and figures. He said it was unfair for the Aliero committee to draw such wrong conclusion even though it never deem it fit to invite them during its sittings.

“More worrisome to us are the counter allegations made by NAHCON against the findings of the committee that:

The Ad hoc Committee 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.

That the Committee as part of its recommendations made a counter-recommendation regarding a Saudi Service Provider on a matter in which there is a ruling by a Saudi Court in Makkah on 5th Muharram 1439; the same Saudi based blacklisted accommodation provider that Senator Adamu Aliero’s committee met in Saudi Arabia as alleged by Nigerian consular general to Jeddah, Mr Mohammed Yunusa

The Committee did not reflect the explanations made by the Commission on many issues during the public hearing conducted by it in which some of the participants were compelled to swear with the Holy Qur’an while some just affirmed thereby contravening the provisions of the Oaths Act.

That the adhoc committee gave special consideration to Captain Mohammed Joji and I. G. Wala after the close of the public hearing.

Also, the committee made several allegations that were not discussed during its public hearing.

“There are also unconfirmed reports that the report of the committee was written by one member of the committee who was alleged to have vowed to get back at the leadership of NAHCON by any means necessary for personal reasons.

The statement also states that the  ‘Senator Adamu Aliero adhoc committee have misused the opportunity given to them to contribute to the development of hajj operations and instead pursued personal vendetta thereby putting the integrity of the Senate in question.

“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,” IHR said.

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