Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago of Niger State has called for the dissolution of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) due to dissatisfaction with its handling of the 2024 hajj,Daily Trust reports.

In a viral video, Governor Bago expressed disappointment with several services provided by NAHCON. Daily Trust reports that his frustration primarily arose from the inadequate accommodation for Tent A pilgrims from Nigeria, which included state governors and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas.

Despite the services for these high-profile individuals being arranged by private tour operators, Governor Bago described the 2024 hajj as a failure. In contrast, Jalal Arabi, Chairman of NAHCON, claimed the event was successful, noting that the agency avoided previous issues like the lack of tents and feeding in Muna, where Nigerian pilgrims had to sleep under bridges last year.

ALSO READ: NLC Kicks Against Calls To Decentralise Minimum Wage Negotiations

Governor Bago criticized NAHCON’s dual role as both regulator and operator, stating, “NAHCON is supposed to be a regulator and not an operator, but it has continued to play the part of operation and therefore failed pilgrims. Can you imagine that feeding, accommodation in Madinah, tents in Muna, transportation, and healthcare workers are handled by NAHCON? There is no country that does that in the world.”

He also called for an investigation into how NAHCON managed the N90 billion subsidy provided by the federal government for this year’s hajj. Bago proposed that state governments should handle pilgrimages, using private sector agents for better organization, as practiced in other countries. He remarked, “The federal government is too big to be worried about hajj problems. This is a local government issue and not state. State governments should be able to organize pilgrimages and get agents from the private sector who will do this thing the best way.”

Governor Bago highlighted the embarrassing situation where Nigerian governors and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who had paid NAHCON, were left without proper accommodation. He emphasized the need for change, stating, “It is good that we are affected and this time for us to change the narrative.”

He further criticized the mismanagement of funds, noting, “The N90 billion given would have helped in running the affairs of UBEC for four years. Imagine sharing this money with the 36 states. Some states also paid subsidies, which in Niger state I paid N3 billion. That N90 billion is enough to run UBEC for four years. So, we can’t be handing our resources to people. Some people paid N8 million for this operation and they got just $400. This is ridiculous.”

When asked for a response, NAHCON’s Chairman Jalal Arabi refrained from engaging in a dispute with the governor. He stated, “Governors are our leaders. Especially, Umar is my younger brother, I don’t have to join issues or anything. Like I said, they need to be told what the situation is, how it is, and how it is conducted. Sometimes when you react at a moment, it can be misconstrued or misinterpreted. I want to believe he was misinformed or misquoted. He is among those we will meet when we get home.”

Regarding the $400 BTA, Arabi explained that the agreed amount was $500, but fluctuations in the naira’s value affected the final amount given to pilgrims.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here