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State pilgrims boards reject Bala’s call for decentralisation of hajj operation 

The Forum of Chief Executive Officers of State Muslim Pilgrims Boards/Agencies/Commissions have rejected a call by the Bauchi state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, for decentralisation of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to allow state governments to take full control of affairs of hajj exercise.

Governor Mohammed, while addressing Bauchi pilgrims in Muna Tuesday criticised NAHCON for not living up to its expectation in the 2024 hajj.

He said a significant part of the hajj services be decentralised to enable state governments assume full responsibility and ensure the well-being of pilgrims.

Responding to Governor Mohammed’s call, deputy chairman of the forum, Alhaji Farouk Aliyu Yaro, Friday night, while responding to questions during a press briefing on the resolution reached from their meeting on the just concluded 2024 hajj operations, said the forum rejected the governor’s call for decentralisation of NAHCON.

Yaro, who is also the executive chairman of the Kebbi State Pilgrims Welfare Agency, said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a standing policy of engaging with countries across the world on hajj operations and not with states.

He said: “No state has the power to deal directly with the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah or any other Saudi authority in the conduct of hajj operations except NAHCON. The policy has not in any way given any state such right to deal directly with Saudi. 

“Therefore, the call to abolish NAHCON and decentralising hajj operations has no basis. 

 “We should not allow our emotions to effect the overall interest of pilgrims, policy and global guideline of hajj operation.

“Like every other country in the world, Saudi policy vested the responsibility on the NAHCON, which represents the entire states in Nigeria in provision of visa and other international travel policies for pilgrims.

“The 2024 hajj operation under the current leadership of NAHCON has recorded over 85% success, which is okay. We have confidence in the commissions’ ability to even improve on that.

“We should not always expect things to work our way. What is expected of us is to give constructive advice to NAHCON on any lapses we might have observed, and not to condemn the whole system that has performed creditably well.

“We are calling on our leaders to look at the overall achievements on NAHCON and not to single out a minor fault.”

Chairman of the forum, Alhaji Idris Ahmad Al-Makura, said the forum just met where it did a post-mortem of the 2024 hajj and came out with some resolutions in order to let the whole world know what happened in 2024 hajj.

He said the forum commended NAHCON for the early processing and approval of visas to pilgrims.  

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