From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna
A group under the aegis of Independent Hajj Reporters yesterday urged National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to probe the exorbitant fees collected from those going for lesser Hajj (Umrah) pilgrims by some tour operators without commensurate services.
This was contained in a statement, issued by its National Coordinator, Ibrahim Muhammad and Publicity Secretary, Abubakar Mahmoud, made available to journalists in the state.
According to the group, activities of few tour operators have put a dent on the image of Islam and as such, government must ensure that such Umrah operators are investigated and sanctioned if found guilty.
“Though, we acknowledge that there is scarcity of Umrah visas due to the on-going expansion project in the Holy Mosque, but it is not a reason for some tour operators to allegedly collude with few staff of the Saudi Consulate and Embassy to extort money from innocent Umrah pilgrims,” the group said.
The statement added: “We are in support of the newly repackaged zonal enlightenment programme, in partnership with National Orientation Agency, and other policies introduced by NAHCON geared towards making Hajj a hitch and stress-free exercise for pilgrims.”