Katsina state governor Aminu Masari says the government dissolved the state Muslim pilgrims welfare board and sacked its executive secretary after a report revealed “under dealing and racketeering” in collusion with service providers in Saudi Arabia.
The racketeering was especially in accommodation, feeding and transportation.
Speaking when receiving the 2019 Hajj report, Masari said every year the sacked officials defrauded the state of huge amount of monies especially on additional accommodation, insisting, “We cannot allow this to continue.”
“People who didn’t pay through our board are later loaded unto us to accommodate and this has been consistent. International pilgrims will displace our people and we as government are later made to pay for additional expenses,” he said
He said the state was set to reorganise the board, insisting the Hajj has been historically marred by politicians, religious leaders and the elites who seemed to be “untouchables”.
Earlier, in his remarks, the leader of the state delegation, Muntari Lawal told the governor that for years officials have been lying to government on securing accommodation close to Haram, saying, “It is all lies and this year was worse off as places gotten were infested with rodents and lack basic facilities like Air conditioner and toilets
“Pilgrims trekked for almost an hour to mosques and officials vehicles and ambulances are all out of existence and cannot operate,” he said.
He said pilgrims suffered untold hardship as over 150 could not be accommodated on arrival saying that their accommodation reserved were given to others on personal favours.
He said, the state lost four pilgrims this year just as 854 others suffered various medical challenges saying that government have since visited and sympathise with the families of the bereaved.