By; IYOKPO J. EGBODO, Abuja.
Agents who provided accommodation services for Nigerian pilgrims during the 2015 and 2016 Hajj have called on the House of Representatives to investigate the Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) over alleged irregularities in the activities of the commission during Hajj operations.
In a five-page petition dated February 25, 2017 and submitted to the House, the Chairman of the group under the aegis of Nigeria Arewa Foundation, Mr Ibrahim Sulaiman Yusuf urged the House to set up a panel to probe the activities of the commission during hajj operations, particularly in 2015 and 2016.
Yusuf in the petition accused the commission’s chairman of unlawfully levying all companies that provided accommodation to Nigerian pilgrims the sum of 50 Riyals.
He said that the SR50 was deducted from the amount due to the agents in respect of the pilgrims accommodation in Makkah.
“In 2015 and 2016 Hajj, there were 76,000 pilgrims accommodated in the Holy city of Makkah. Thi8s shows the Chairman directed the collection of SR3,800,000 which was rated to the then Naira parallel value of N135 which summed up to N513 million.
“The Chairman also unjustly levied the catering companies SR70 per pilgrim for yet an unexplained reason.In the just concluded 2016 Hajj, $800 was earmarked for provision of catering for each pilgrim but the catering companies were paid SR 730 and this clearly explains that the chairman for an unsupported backing deducted another SR5, 320, 000 which was equivalent to N718, 200 million,’’ Yusuf said.
He added that the Commission is presently negotiating to increase the pilgrims transportation fees from SR180 to SR360 without the consent of the Nigerian participating States’ Pilgrims Welfare Board.
The group therefore urged the House to conduct a public hear to with a view to have a level playing ground and to collate more facts on the allegations.
“In the he interest of fairplay, the Chairman should be compelled to refund all the money that was corruptly siphoned during the 2015 and 2016 hajj periods.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara referred the petition to Committee on Public Petitions for further legislative action.