By Sule Aliyu, Bauchi
Governor Mohammed Abubakar has described as insane; the looting of public treasury through hajj exercise, saying it is one of the worst ways of desecrating the name of Islam by Muslims by people entrusted with managing the conduct of one of the five pillar of Islam.
The governor made the statement while receiving the 2017 Hajj reports, described as worrisome the level of desperation for materialism and wealth accumulation for personal use that makes some people to steal using one of the sacred pillars of Islam.
While recalling that his administration inherited a debt profile from the execution of the 2014 Hajj, Abubakar however expressed satisfaction that with the innovations his government introduced and prudent management of resources in the conduct of Hajj, money is being returned into the treasury for two years running, which doubled in the 2017 exercise.
A statement by the press secretary to the governor, Abubakar Al-Sadique a copy of which was made available to National Trail said that from the inception of the APC administration in Bauchi in 2015, the state has been recording successes in hajj exercise attributable to the doggedness of the hajj teams appointed for the exercise and management.
“There is clear departure from the past system, which was a graft, that starts with the creation of artificial scarcity of forms through its sales”, the statement said.
Governor Abubakar has assured that the state government is committed to improving the exercise as, according to the statement, no stone will be left unturned in future hajj exercises.
It explained that the 2018 Hajj E-portal is being prepared for in order to have a successful hajj exercise with the over 3,000 seats allocated to the state being maintained.
Abubakar tasked the team that leaves for Saudi Arabia in preparation of the 2018 Hajj exercise to eliminate the subsidy on the pilgrimage and maintain the accommodation at lower cost than what was paid in the preceding year.
The 2017 Amirul Hajj who is also the speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rt. Honorable Kawuwa Shehu Damina announced the return of 71,000 Saudi Riyals to government treasury as unspent and timely release of funds, as he described the 2017 Hajj operation successful with over three thousand pilgrims from the state performed the Hajj.
The speaker, who explained that decent accommodation, transportation and feeding were provided to the pilgrims in the Nigeria and the holy land, said preachers and guides ensured that pilgrims performed their religious rites with ease.
Damina commended the governor for the intervention of 850 Riyals subsidy paid on decent pilgrims’ accommodation within walking distance to the grand mosques in the Makka and Medina, and lamented that out of the pilgrims from Bauchi state, three died in the holy land.
He also thanked the governor for visiting the pilgrims in the holy land during the exercise and gifts of 300 Riyals to each pilgrim and the 20,000 and 10,000 USD, the First Lady, Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed Abubakar, offered to the preachers.
The Amirul hajj applauded the governor for the renovation of the Hajj camp in Bauchi and the Pilgrims Welfare Board Office, and urged the state to commence preparation for the 2018 Hajj exercise in earnest as the National Hajj Commission had already release guidelines for the exercise.