In response to the challenges faced by the Kaduna State pilgrims in Saudi Arabia last year, the Kaduna State government has established a specialized task force for the 2024 Hajj to oversee the affairs of the state pilgrims board. Deputy Governor Dr Hadiza Balarabe announced the formation of the eight-member task force, chaired by Sheikh Salisu Abubakar, during the week,Daily Trust reports.
The decision to create the task force stems from the difficulties encountered by state pilgrims in Saudi Arabia the previous year, leading to unnecessary hardships. Deputy Governor Balarabe emphasized that Governor Uba Sani is cognizant of these challenges and stressed the collective need to address gaps and implement improved arrangements prioritizing the welfare of pilgrims.
In light of concerns raised by some staff of the state pilgrims welfare board, calling for a forensic investigation into the finances, procurements, and contracts awarded by the board, the special task force aims to rectify past shortcomings and enhance the efficiency of the pilgrimage process.
The establishment of the task force comes months after the Emir of Zazzau, Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, labeled the Kaduna State’s 2023 Hajj operation as a total failure, expressing dissatisfaction with the conditions experienced by Kaduna pilgrims. The emir, who served as the Kaduna State Amirul Hajj in 2023, highlighted the operational challenges faced by pilgrims and called for improvements in the planning and execution of future Hajj operations.
To address these concerns, Deputy Governor Balarabe outlined the terms of reference for the task force, emphasizing the importance of engaging organizations capable of meeting standards, ensuring suitable accommodation in Mecca with the required bed capacity and proximity to the Kaaba, maintaining standard quality of feeding, implementing efficient transportation, and ensuring proper implementation of hadaya services.
The task force includes members such as Baba Ahmed-Rufai as the secretary, along with Imam Buhari, Maimuna Waziri, Aminu Kasimu, Prof. Muhammadu Mustapha-Gwadabe, AVM Muhammad Rabiu Dabo (rtd), and Ummakhukthum Jibril-Maigwari.
Acknowledging the establishment of the task force, concerned staff of the pilgrims’ board expressed gratitude to Governor Uba Sani while raising concerns about the compromised leadership of the board.