The Independent Hajj Reporters has expressed its reservations over the impact state-appointed amirul hajj will have on the welfare of pilgrims during hajj operations.
A statement signed by its national coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed and publicity secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud on Monday said the amirul hajj delegations are politically-activated team meant to patronize political elites or influential traditional leaders without adding any value to the hajj exercise.
“Moreover, the calibre of people being appointed by the state governments are the people who can ordinarily pay for hajj seats and even help those in need to perform the fifth pillar of Islam,” it said.
The civil society group said the appointment of the Amirul teams is worrisome at a time when some of the state pilgrims’ boards are cash-strapped with zero-allocation for overheads and operational costs.
“There are states pilgrims boards/agencies saddled with the responsibilities of conducting hajj activities throughout the year with a sole purpose of ensuring that state pilgrims are taking care of during hajj.”
The statement said the state pilgrims’ boards’ executive secretaries or chairmen had undergone series of training organised by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and even went to Saudi Arabia to learn the art of administering hajj operations.
However, the amirul hajj contingents rarely add any value to the welfare of pilgrims apart from guzzling funds supposed to be meant for the pilgrims’ welfare.
“The state-appointed amirul hajj super-imposed themselves on the operations and relegate those who know the intricacies and operational blueprints to the background, thereby creating unnecessary frictions and hardship on during hajj operations.
“We urge state governors to utilize funds being expended on the amirul hajj team to upgrade the facilities at hajj camps or recruit more hajj officials to assist and guide their pilgrims in Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the civil society said.