Following a reluctant move to follow due process of completing Hajj pilgrimage obligations to the Saudi government, no less than thousands of Nigerian pilgrims are crying foul that the management of Nigerian Hajj Commission in Abuja are frustrating their desire to perform the Holy pilgrimage.
In a chance meet with a number of the affected travellers who claimed they had paid and fulfilled their financial obligations through their agents towards their travelling arrangements, we gathered that their frustration was hinged on the stance of the Hajj Commission which they alleged had refused to remit their individual and collective payments to the Saudi government.
This, according to our investigation had made it impossible for the intending travellers to proceed with their travel arrangements mainly because they were yet to receive approval, even after their certified travel agents had remitted their payments to the Nigerian Hajj Commission, as laid down by the federal government.
Events leading to the uproar of the Hajj pilgrims began after they had paid all their monies to the Nigerian Hajj Commission in Abuja. The fees, according to our findings cover transport, accommodation, feeding, visa processing and procurement and other expenses as laid down by the management of the Commission.
After remittance to the Commission, the travellers, before embarking on the journey would receive a confirmation from the Saudi government that they had individually fulfilled their entire obligation.
With the confirmation, all intending travellers could then proceed to buying foreign exchange to be able to do shopping and other private purchases while on the trip.
As at press time, the intending pilgrims were yet to receive their tickets and had been thrown into a state of confusion, following various incomplete arrangements they are now faced with.
Many of them who we gathered had invested their energies and resources to make the pilgrimage are now left with no option than to look elsewhere to explore the Black market to source for foreign exchange towards the Hajj pilgrimage.
This development has in the last couple of days generated various condemnations and attacks towards the management of the Nigeria Hajj Commission, which they opined had not considered their interest as nationals of this country.
Which some of them expressed their displeasure towards the Commission for not following the international pilgrimage rules, others claimed that the Chairman of the Hajj Commission had displayed some sort of influence that he is untouchable with whatever action he takes.
This, according to the aggrieved travellers is not acceptable especially in this era of the federal government crusade against corruption.
All frantic efforts made to speak with the Commission proved abortive as, on three occasions, an official of the Commission simply said he was not in a position to confirm the remittance of the intending pilgrims’ payments to the Saudi government.