From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina
Amirul Hajj for the 2019 Hajj exercise in Katsina State, Alhaji Muntari Lawal has lamented that some of the pilgrims for the exercise were accommodated in a house abandoned for 16 years in the Holy Land.
Lawal made the lamentation yesterday while presenting the 2019 Amirul Hajj report to the state governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari.
‘This house was unoccupied for the past 16 years. The house was inhabited by rats and other rodents. And the worse of it female and male pilgrims were both accommodated in this same house,’ he added.
He noted that the narratives by pilgrim officials that the house for pilgrims was secured close to the Holy Mosque were a lie, adding that some of the houses were 50 kilometers away from the Holy Mosque.
He further decried that all the ambulances for the Hajj operations for Katsina State were immovable due to lack of particulars for easy movement during the Hajj operations.
Lawal stressed that, “these ambulances cannot go to Madina, Arfat, Muna because they don’t have the required documents. And in cases of emergencies they are of no use to Katsina pilgrims’.
Another big problem, he said was the intrusion of private (Mujabala) pilgrims from Katsina State who often dislodge legitimate pilgrims from their accommodation.
He disclosed that during the 2019 Hajj exercise 150 legitimate pilgrims were dislodged by these private pilgrims, disclosing that he had to personally call the governor where additional funds were released to secure accommodation for the stranded pilgrims.
The Amirul Hajj stressed that ‘these private pilgrims although on their own but always insist on been fed, accommodated and transported by the pilgrims board. Most of them are powerful people in the society’.
He however noted that a total number of 854 pilgrims had various health challenges during the exercise, while four pilgrims that include two females and two males died during the exercise.
In a remark, Governor Aminu Bello Masari lamented that most of these private pilgrims comprises of Ulamas, politicians with the connivance of some pilgrims officials.
He said government would convene a meeting of stakeholders to discuss on ways to address lingering problems bedeviling Hajj operations in the state.