2012 Hajj exercise is a success —Sa’eed Makarfi

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The 2012 Hajj operations have just been concluded nationwide and Kaduna State is one of the states that performed well which made the Saudi’s to honoured some of its officials in the holy land  for leading a successful Hajj operation, Alhaji Yahuza Sa’eed Makarfi is the overseer of the state pilgrims Board. in this interview with members of the Media Team hr spoke extensively on the success recorded by the  state and other important issues with regards to 2012 Hajj operations, Mohammed Ibrahim was there. Excerpts
the 2012 Hajj exercise has just concluded, how do you feel?
The Hajj exercise for year 2012 is a  success and the success we had was because we involved friends, colleagues who are  of caliber and understood the exercise very well. These people helped us with prayers when we were given the leadership of the board because we seek for prayers from all those that wanted  the success of Hajj exercise in the state.
We also seek Almighty Allah’s  assistance to help us  record this success. It was not our doing or hard working that led to the success, no, it was Allah’s doing He gave us the success. It was also the will of Allah that made it possible for Governor Patrick Yakowa to give us all the necessary assistance we needed to succeed.
Although, the governor is a man that loves to give his support and to make sure that we succeed in everything we are doing in the board.
He gave us free hand through out the Hajj exercise without intervening in our activities for this we are grateful.  The governor, his deputy, Secretary to the state government and others did not come to intervene or to criticize our activities. They really supported us and we thank them for that.
We are equally grateful to members of our Media team for a job well done. Honestly, we really appreciated their balance and objective reporting on issues related to the Hajj exercise right from Nigeria to the holy land of Makkah.
Also colleagues and all stake holders such as  security agents, Customs, Immigration, NDLEA, private aid group all gave their contribution to the success of the Hajj exercise. Honestly, their contribution really counts.
I am also grateful to my colleagues at the Pilgrims Welfare Board for the support given to me to ensure that we all succeeded in the exercise. Another thing was that we were blessed with a hard working Amirul Hajj, Alhaji Mannir Jafaru and his team. They gave us all the support needed to make sure that the whole exercise was a success and we are equally grateful for that.
We are also extending our appreciation to the special Adviser on Religious Matters to Governor Patrick Yakowa, malam Halliru Abdullahi Maraya for his understanding and support to the leadership of the board throughout the Hajj period. Same greetings go to our team of preachers for their support.
At the holy land the pilgrims also behave well despite the challenges they envountered at the airport. In the past a little delay in arrival of plane  may pushed pilgrims to starts uttering unpleasant words to officials or to organize  protest  but this year we have not witnessed any of such. We thank God for that.
What will you  say  brought about  this success?
The success recorded can be attributed to the prayers we embarked upon even before we brought in people that will assist us in the exercise.  We said in the prayer that whoever will help us in the exercise God should bring him into the Hajj team and whoever will come in with the intention of bringing a set back to our plan should not be among us.
And by  all indication Allah has accepted the prayers which was the reason  we made this grate achievements.
One thing with Hajj exercise or operation is that you have to learn it, it is not something you jump into it. You have to know the nitty gritty of the operation and acquaint yourself very well with all the techniques of the exercise.
In fact Hajj operation is not something you finish in a day or months until the exercise is over. If not while you are convinced you are through something else that is not even part of your plan will come up. For instance, this year we tough we have finished our arrangements on time all of a sudden the issue of Muharam came up.
That women must show their male companion or risk going to Hajj. This issue was not part of our arrangement because in the past it was not there. In previous years  there was  an agreement with the Saudi Authority about that our officials were the people standing as Muharram to all our female pilgrims.
For the past 20 years only those going for lesser Hajj (Umrah) were asked to bring along their Muharram not those going for Hajj. But the story was different this year as Saudi Arabian authority insisted that female pilgrims must be accompanied by their male companion or relations.
This situation led to the deportation of some female pilgrims back to their states. Thank God after a lot of talking an agreement was reach with the Saudis. This was how  we were lucky to return all Kaduna state  42 female pilgrims deported back to the holy land.
Therefore,  we have reason to thank Allah for given the pilgrims the patients to understand the situation.
How supportive were your staff during the exercise?
Honestly, I got 100 percent support from my staff at the board. They really supported me to see I succeeded in conducting a hitch free Hajj exercise. Most of them did not wait until I was there in person before they do their work. Just as we did not wait until the governor or his deputy was there with us before we discharged our duties. No, we discharged our duties with the fear of Allah.
We are grateful the pilgrims cooperated with us and that led to the victory we recorded this year. The media team did well because they disseminated positive stories that helped the organization. We also thank God we did not have any negative  stories that affected our image and that of the state. This is Allah’s doing not ours.
Kaduna State has the highest pilgrims in the country, what were the major challenges you faced during the Hajj period?
The challenges were numerous first of all as you  know  kaduna state has more than  7000 pilgrims. Last year our work force was much compared to the number we had this year. Last year we used 145 staff in the exercise but this year we only used 100 staff only.
This year the insecurity thing almost affected the exercise particularly the spate of bombings happening in the state. The government is spending a lot to secure and protect the state.
But still despite the security challenges the state government still subsidized the  Hajj fare for the state’s pilgrims.
Another problem we faced was the issue of Pilgrims Camp for the past two years we were not able to use our permanent side at Mando. Instead we  ranted Kaduna Trade Fair premises as our temporary pilgrims camp. In fact, we are still owing the management some money which we are yet to pay. With all these challenges we still thank God for the success  recorded.
About 26 female pilgrims were denied visa haven discovered they were pregnant during the screening. What do you have to say about that?
First of all let me begin by congratulating our medical team for this year 2012 Hajj exercise, particularly the head of the team, Dr Abdul Nasir Tsoho for a job well done. They really did a wonderful job by dictating those women in Nigeria before they travel.
This was why we did not have any case of miscarriage or birth in the holy land. This could be attributed to the hard work and sincerity of the medical team. We are grateful to them for their commitment throughout the exercise.
You were honoured by Mutawwif(Service No 3) for leading a successful Hajj operation in Makkah, how do you feel about that?
I feel grate, I feel happy that at least our job was appreciated and commended. I feel grate that our Amirul Hajj was also honored for exemplary leadership by the Saudi’s and other few of my staff who were also honoured. This showed that our job was recognized.
So it was a grate experience and we are happy for been recognized. The award to us, me in particular will only ginger me to do more for my state and for the pilgrims. We are equally grateful to the pilgrims for conducting themselves well and for behaving well in the Holy Land. Their good conduct gave us the award. We appreciated that and hope they will continue to display such a good behaviour in  future Hajj operations.

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