Following the untold hardship faced by close to 100,000 Nigerians pilgrims at the just concluded Muslim pilgrimage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the lawmaker representing Ibadan North West/South West federal constituency in the house of representative, Hon. Dhikirulahi Adedeji Olajide has asked the National Hajj Commission, NAHCON, to refund the pilgrims.
In a motion to that effect on Wednesday, the two-term house of representatives member said he performed the pilgrimage with other Nigerians and could not but table their plight.
Odidiomo, as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, parliamentarian is known, said that he was not happy with the whole situation adding that apart from the fact that many Nigerians are yet to be airlifted back home many days after the completion of the hajj rites, pilgrims didn’t get value for the huge amount they paid for the exercise.
Speaking at the plenary, the outspoken lawmaker said that “I rise to move a motion on the need to investigate the untold hardship faced by Nigerian pilgrims at the recently concluded 2023 Hajj.
“The exercise in the holy land of Saudi Arabia involved over 95,000 Nigerian pilgrims. Also, note that the Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, particularly section 14, 2b provides that the security and the welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
“A form of a total of about 95,000 slots were allotted to Nigeria, which was coordinated by the NAHCON, and pursuant to section 4, it is charged with the mandate to provide effectively and efficiently Hajj and Umrah services to the Nigerian pilgrims.
“Be informed too that this year’s Hajj recorded one of the largest turnouts in the history of Nigeria. Some core operators perpetrated the worst form of unprofessionalism by failing to provide services to pilgrims in terms of accommodation, feeding and transportation.
“Mr Speaker, I am disturbed by the absence of emergency medical services for sick patients in distress at Minna camp as many could not even access ambulance services to the camp.
“Furthermore, I am also disturbed by the fact that most Nigerian pilgrims were made to miss their flights and had to procure new ticket without justification or justifiable cause, due to the disturbing bottlenecks placed by the Hajj services centres, especially service centre 16, who withheld passports of pilgrims until the bottlenecks were fulfilled.
“Worried that many Nigerian pilgrims cannot get commensurate value for the high amount of money they paid for, I am justly clamouring for a full refund for the tent and their feeding. I am worried that the agency mandated to cater for the pilgrims affairs, NAHCON, has not been proactive in ameliorating the plight of Nigerians during the Hajj exercise.
“Please, we are asking that you mandate the Committee on the Pilgrim Affairs constituted to conduct a detailed investigation into the several anomalies that emanated from the exercise and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative actions.
“Also, mandate the Committee on Legislative Compliance, when constituted, to ensure implementation,” he said.