Posted by Garba Muhammad, Kaduna | 4 August 2019 | 731 times
A civil society organisation that monitors hajj and umrah activities, the Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), has said that some states Muslim pilgrims welfare boards have refused to respond to its Freedom of Information (FOI), request on the number of intending pilgrims for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage who paid their hadaya (animal sacrifice) through their respective state pilgrims boards and those that remit their money through Jaiz bank as directed by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammed, and Publicity Secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud, in Abuja and made available to journalists on Saturday.
IHR said: “On June 25, 2019, we wrote an FOI request to the states relying on the provisions of Sections 1&2 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2011.
“We sought the following information: “The total the registered number of 2019 hajj pilgrims; the total number of pilgrims that paid for Hadayya through Jaiz Bank and their names, contact numbers and registration numbers as well as the total number of pilgrims that paid through State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards, their names and registration numbers.
“The letters were sent to Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa Zamfara, Niger, FCT, and Yobe State Muslim Pilgrims Board.
“On July 18, a reminder was dispatched to the above-listed state boards through their official email addresses.
“However, only Yobe and Kaduna state officially responded to the request as at the time of issuing this public statement. The remaining states whose letters were sent later are also yet to respond.”
The civil society said it is working with some anti-corruption agencies to monitor how the process of hadaya will be conducted during the hajj this year. It also promises to make its findings public.
“We have concluded all necessary arrangements to ensure that we monitor how pilgrims conduct their hadaya this year. We are also aware that some states have collected hadaya money from pilgrims without issuing them a receipt.
“These acts negate open transparency and we have begun to identify previous methods used to scam pilgrims by some dubious agents in collaboration with top state pilgrims boards officials,” the statement said.
It also recalled that NAHCON has approved Jaiz Bank as the only official Hadaya collector for 2019 hajj.
It said the selection and approval of Jaiz bank were based on the latter status as the only Islamic Bank approved by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to facilitate hadaya payment.
IDB is the Saudi Arabian approved Hadaya financial institution licensed to carry out hadaya on behalf of pilgrims coming to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj.
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