The National Chairman, Hijrah Organisation of Nigeria, Professor Yusuf ‘Lanre Badmas has commended Nigerian President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for returning the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to the office of the Vice President.
Badmas a former board member, NAHCON made the commendation during an interview with newsmen in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, North Central Nigeria.
According to him, the decision to return the responsibility of hajj operations to the office of the Vice President will greatly improve the service delivery of the commission and free it from unecessary bureaucracies.
He added that the decision would also fast track the operations of the commission with little or no delay.
He recalled that at inception, the commission was initially under the portfolio of the office of the Vice President before it was transferred to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“That was how it was when Atiku Abubakar was the Vice President under President Olusegun Obasanjo, it was directly under him through the Hajj committee which was transformed into Hajj commission.
“I remember very well what Atiku did was to bring onboard the Hajj desk in his office and knowledgeable people were chosen to supervise the appointment of people who served in the committee of Hajj commission and made himself available in case any problem arose then” he stated.
Speaking on the perennial challenges facing hajj operations today in the country, Badmas blamed it on the indiscipline and lack of proper financial management on the part of the pilgrims, as well as lack of back up plans (Plan B) on the part of the officials of the Hajj commission.
According to him, the pilgrims were not always patient enough after completing the Hajj rites and they are eager to come back home thereby embark on unnecessary agitations with the pilgrim officials and not allowing the lessons of the spiritual pilgrimage to pass through them.
Similarly, he stressed the need for officials of NAHCON to always have alternative plans incase they have challenges or hitches in their initial arrangements while state officials of the pilgrims board must always be in contact with their pilgrims on the date of their departure and guide against keeping them in perpetual suspense .
He, however , urged the Kwara State Government to create a Hajj Commission rather than the existing State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board in order to properly cater for the needs of Pilgrims from the State .
While commenting on the rate of extant hardship being currently endured by the populace, the don appealed to Federal Government to look into making a policy that will bring ease and succour on the people.
He suggested that President Tinubu should rally round himself with God-fearing religious leaders from both Christianity and Islam in the administration of his government so as to share opinions and policies with them on what he would embark upon and way forward for the nation.
Badmas who is the former Dean, Post Graduate School, University of Ilorin, also urged the Federal and the State governments to inaugurate price control agencies in their states in order to check the trend of overpricing of commodities by the traders whom according to him, are bringing sufferings on the consumers and the poor citizens and stressed the need to activate the price control mechanism to ease the hardship Nigerians are currently passing through.
He said “I also believe that the various states can be inspired to reintroduce price control agencies because the market men and women seem to have unlimited freedom, if you buy a commodity at #1,000 today by tomorrow they may decide arbitrarily that they want to sell it at #2,000 or #3,000.
“This is our appeal to His Excellency the President that he should remember the masses who voted for him, any policy that will bring hardship and suffering on the people, should be avoided” he lamented.
According to him, the withdrawal of subsidy on fuel has launched a moment of suffering , difficulty for the masses and wondered that as the citizens were yet to recover from the shock when the price of petroleum was jacked up and parliative measures were about to be introduced , Nigerians again withnessed another sharp increase in the price of the product.
Badmas commended the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRaman AbdulRazaq for granting Muslim Ummah the age -long aspiration to make the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Calendar , a work free day annually.
He appealed to Muslims to take the period of Hijrah and the New Islamic Year to reflect on their lives and migrate from actions and conducts that are not pleasing to the Almighty Allah.
According to him, under his leadership as the National Chairman, Hijrah Organisation of Nigeria, he would reregister the body with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to ensure it has more national outlook and organize various Islamic programmes.
He added that such programmes would include building of an Hijrah Complex where various Islamic activities such as seminars and workshops will be held and imbibe more Islamic knowledge in the Imams and other clerics while efforts would be intensified to persuade the Federal Government to pronounce Hijrah a work free day across the country.