The House of Representatives was yesterday divided over the N25, 000 collected from 66,167 pilgrims to the 2016 pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON). They had paid the money for hand bands, making the total amount collected to N1.629 billion.
Leading the debate on the motion, the sponsor, Hon Danburam Abubakar Nuhu (APC, Kano) said prior to the 2016 Hajj, NAHCON introduced hand bands, which was intended to serve as a chip to facilitate the identification and location of any missing pilgrim, if need be.
He noted that a total of 66,167 pilgrims paid N25, 000 each for the hand band.
However, he said the hand bands were not given to the pilgrims during the Hajj exercise.
According to Nuhu, “a total of 65, l67 pilgrims from Nigeria performed the Hajj, which means that the sum of N1.629billion was supposed to have been generated by the Hajj Commission.
“The commission collected money from the pilgrims but this hand band was not distributed to them. It is Haram in Islam for money to be collected for hajj without giving out what was collected.”
Contributing to the debate, Hon Aminu Shehu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) said it was unacceptable that such amount as high as N25, 000 was collected from pilgrims and the item that they paid for was not given to them.
He called on the House to step in and ensure that the money is retrieved and given to the pilgrims.
A few minutes into the debate, Hon Sani Abdul (APC, Bauchi) raised a point of information. He said there was already a committee set up by the House to oversee the 2016 Hajj.
The lawmaker said it is not proper to be entertaining a motion on issue relating to the hajj, when the committee has not submitted its report.
At this point the house became rowdy with many of the members wanting to spoke on the issue.
Contributing to the motion, the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamilia, (APC, Lagos) said the motion is ordinarily a good motion, but it seeks to pre-empt another report of the House.