As Muslim pilgrims begin their Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, some aggrieved pilgrims in Kogi State have accused the Kogi State Hajj Commission of high-level nepotism in the selection of people across the state.
In a letter signed by the spokespersons of the pilgrims, Anchor Mohammed and Abdullah Mohammad, the pilgrims accused the hajj commission of being partial in its regional allocation of seats for intending pilgrims in the course of the exercise.
In the appeal to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.); the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; the Chairman, Kogi State Hajj Commission, Sheikh Luqman Abdullahi, and forwarded to the Saudi Ambassador to Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, and the Council of Ulema, Kogi State Chapter, the pilgrims argued that due process was not followed in the selection, as a certain region was favoured than other regions in the state.
They, ‘‘In Kogi East which comprises Igala and Bassa-speaking areas, only about 20 per cent was said to have been selected for a region of over 49 per cent of the total population of the state.
‘‘Kogi West comprises Okun, Ebira, and Koton-speaking areas, only about 12 per cent was allocated, which comprises about 28 per cent of the total population of the state.
‘‘Why then would the Ebira-speaking area of Kogi Central that is very minimal in population enjoy over 65 per cent of the allocation from the National Hajj Commission?’’
They, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Kogi State Governor to put the kibosh on the commission’s powers and maintain a regional balance in the hajj selection, in line with the tenets of Islam which espouse fairness and justice.
‘‘Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and we believe that it is not in everything we play politics and tribalism.
‘‘We call on Mr. President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, to call the Commission to order and correct the imbalance with immediate effect before it’s too late.
‘‘We are also calling on His Excellency, Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, to call the chairman and secretary of Kogi State Hajj Commission to order, to avoid both local and international outcries,’’ the statement said.
The 2022 hajj is set to kick off from the evening of Thursday, July 7, till the evening of Tuesday, July 12, 2022.