NSCIA chides NAHCON over hajj fare hike

NSCIA  said government should allow Muslims through the Council to monitor hajj procedures since it is a religious matter and does not need government’s intervention. 

Council was consulted, says commission
Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has urged the Federal Government to hands off hajj matters and review the act that set up the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).

The council, in the statement signed by its Director of Administration, Isa Okonkwo, faulted the hajj fare hike noting that such religious obligation should not be commercialised at the expense of Muslims.

NSCIA  said government should allow Muslims through the Council to monitor hajj procedures since it is a religious matter and does not need government’s intervention.

Meanwhile, NAHCON, has said that the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, was “fully” involved in the process of negotiations that led to the of 2017 Hajj fares. The NSCIA statement reads: “Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam which every Muslim struggles to fulfill at least once his lifetime. It is a form of worship in Islam.This explains why multitude of Muslims from all parts of the world participate in Hajj every year. Many countries of the world handle their Hajj operations with utmost seriousness and diligence.

“We have observed with keen interest the controversy on the hike of 2017 Hajj fares as announced by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).“ The position of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) on Hajj remains as: Whatever concession is given any other Nigerian travelers (including non-Muslim pilgrims) is due and should be accorded to Hujjaj (Nigerian Pilgrims to Mecca).

“Nigerian Muslims do not demand any other special concessions since hajj is a religious duty for which we are responsible.“ Federal Government of Nigeria should hand Hajj-matters (except consular & security) to the NSCIA. It is Government involvement that is responsible for the high cost for obvious reasons.

“The committee set up by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs under the leadership of Gen. A.B. Mamman (Rtd) to work out the modus-operandi of transfer has not been given the required support (particularly in the area of statistics) by National Hajj Commission of Nigeria.

Hajj should not be commercialised at the expense of the masses who struggle to fulfill their religious obligation, hence the need to explore the cheapest cost for a comfortable and safe-hajj performance.

“The NSCIA is therefore of the view that Hajj-fare can be less than it is, if all parties are genuinely consulted for an appropriate solution and strategy.“NAHCON Act is due for an urgent amendment to remove the wrong notion that Muslims rely on National pulse for the performance of their religious obligation,” it stated.

NAHCON’s Secretary, Mohammed Tambuwal said that Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs has a member  K.K Oloso in the NAHCON Board, adding that, “he is a Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the University of Ibadan. and he was part of the committee that negotiated and fixed the hajj fares”.

Tambuwal also said apart from the NSCIA, a representative of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam also sits on the board and was also part of the negotiating team on the fares.  “So I believe the press statement is the opinion of the writer and not that of the NSCIA management,” He said NAHCON keeps NSCIA updated “on all processes and developments including negotiations on the Hajj fare,” he said.

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