Nigeria Newspapers

‘2024 Hajj a failure,’ Bago calls for probe of FG’s N90bn subsidy


Niger State Governor, Muhammed Umar Bago


Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun

By Mohammed Baba Busu

Gov. Umaru Bago of Niger has called of for the probe of N90 billion subsidy paid by the Federal government for the 2024 Hajj operations.

The Governor called for the probe while recounting the hitches pilgrims encountered in Saudi Arabia during the 2024 Hajj.

He described the 2024 Hajj exercise as a failure as he lambasted National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for failing to live up to expectations

This is contained in a statement signed by Bologi Ibrahim, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor in Minna on Sunday.

Bago who spoke an interview with newsmen in Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to assess this year’s Hajj operation also called for decentralisation of Hajj operation in Nigeria.

He expressed concern over the way NAHCON turned itself to an operator of Hajj activities instead of playing regulatory roles.

He suggested that Hajj operation should be private sector-driven for effective and efficient service delivery.

Bago said that he will lead a Committee of state governors to meet relevant authorities for a review of the commission.

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“Let the private sector drive Hajj operations, NAHCON should be a regulator at the centre.

“I am leading a committee of Governors to the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, from there we go to the NEC.

“I will propose this motion and we will send a bill to the National Assembly where this issue of NAHCON would be reviewed.

“NAHCON is not helping matters, our Federal Government is too big to be worried about Hajj operations, these are supposed to be local government issues and not even State issues”, Bago said.

He said that the state governments should be able to organise pilgrimage, and engage agents from the private as it is done in other countries.

He called of for the probe of N90 billion subsidy paid by the Federal government for the Hajj operations.

The governor said that in spite the subsidy, some states including Niger still paid some billions of naira for the exercise.

He alleged that pilgrims were given only 400 dollars to take care of themselves for about 40 days, inspite the payment of N8 million by each pilgrim.

Bago said that the N90 billion would have made more impact if shared to states.