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Don’t usurp powers of statutory officials, CSO tells Amirul Hajj teams



Hajj pilgrims

A faith-based Civil Society Organization, CSO, the Independent Hajj Reporters, IHR, has urged various Amirul Hajj teams being appointed by state governors not to usurp the powers of statutory officials during the forthcoming Hajj operations.

The group said the call became necessary owing to past experiences in which some state Amirul Hajj teams, who are supposed to be ad-hoc committees formed to offer support to appointed officials and pilgrims often assume powers and responsibilities beyond their scope which leads to chaos and negatively affected operations during Hajj exercise.

In a statement issued on Monday by its National Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammed, the IHR called for a clear term of reference for the Amirul Hajj teams, saying such schedules should not involve operational issues to avoid conflicts.

It noted that “the Amirul Hajj teams are sometimes led by respected traditional rulers, or members of the Ulama with wide followings and high regards and they are expected to simply support Hajj officials carry out their responsibilities diligently while also offering advice and guidance to pilgrims on what is expected of them.”

“From experience, we know for a fact that once appointed, some state Amirul Hajj teams try to lord it over Hajj officials, especially while in Saudi Arabia, and any resistance to that effect by these officials often leads to unnecessary crisis.

“State officials are often forced to satisfy the needs of Amirul Hajj teams because they wield inefluence that can lead to their removal from office. Valuable time is therefore, dedicated to managing the crisis instead of fixing the onerous task of serving pilgrims.

“While we appreciate the role of leadership and guidance of the Amirul Hajj teams, there are instances when the Amirul Hajj teams usurped the critical operational responsibilities of state Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Board officials, especially in the areas of airlift schedule and the allocation of accommodation to pilgrims. We have seen cases where some high profile and politically connected Amirul Hajj team members will be requesting for VIP services.

“While we have no problem with Amirul Hajj teams, we urge that these teams should not go to Saudi Arabia and constitute themselves as an unnecessary obstacle to the smooth running of Hajj operations. They should see their appointments as a call to serve the pilgrims, who are the guests of Allah (SWT) from their states and the country at large and should, therefore, strive to offer their best to gain maximum reward.

“In the same vein, we call on the various officials from the states not to be antagonistic to the members of the Amirul Hajj teams, but see them as partners in progress for the common good of the pilgrims.

“We know that differences may arise, but we also know that both members of the Amirul Hajj teams and officials can always settle the differences without recourse to animosity.

“Let everyone act with the hope of getting Allah’s favour and nothing else,” the statement reads.