‘It’s no longer busi­ness as usual in Mus­lim Pil­grims Board’

Weekly Trust - - News - Isi­aka: Isi­aka: Isi­aka:

to have their ac­com­mo­da­tion about 10km away from the holy Mosque. Soon, we are go­ing to start see­ing changes.

DT: Many have ac­cused the Board of sharp prac­tices and cor­rup­tion, how do you in­tend to check some of these is­sues?

There are so many ways of check­ing some of these is­sues; one is if you have a sup­port­ive gov­ern­ment like ours, which is out to make sure there is no seg­re­ga­tion or bias with re­gards to re­li­gion. Some of the states con­trolled by Mus­lims are not putting as much money into the Board as the gov­er­nor of Plateau State.

DT: Is that not why we are hav­ing al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion in the Board?

With the re­cent con­sti­tu­tion of the Board, af­ter about three years without one, there will def­i­nitely be checks and bal­ances and this can stem cor­rup­tion. In the past, the gov­er­nor just ap­points some­one to go and run the place on in­di­vid­ual ba­sis without a Board and only the ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary was ex­er­cis­ing and over­pow­er­ing ev­ery­body. In such a case, there must be cor­rup­tion, but where we have checks and bal­ances as we have now, there will be sta­bil­ity in the Board. And I doubt if you will be hear­ing any­thing about fraud. So the cor­rup­tion peo­ple are talk­ing about is not from the Board but from the in­di­vid­u­als that used to run the place. If we see that the ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary is go­ing astray, we will check­mate him, there will be trans­parency, and ev­ery­thing will move smoothly.

DT: What as­sur­ances do you have for pil­grims es­pe­cially as we pre­pare for 2018 Hajj?

Peo­ple should give us the ben­e­fit of the doubt and where the Board makes mis­takes, they should call our at­ten­tion be­cause we are hu­man. It is no longer busi­ness as usual in the Board, give us six months, you will see a lot of changes be­cause we are on a mis­sion to change the place. A lot of Is­lamic sem­i­nars will be tak­ing place. In Sha Al­lah when we re­turn from Hajj, we will start mak­ing moves to re­lo­cate to our per­ma­nent site around Rikkos area by next year. For in­stance at the tem­po­rary site, there is no mosque that can take up to 30 peo­ple but in the new site we in­tend to make space for about 1000 pil­grims. It is an ex­ist­ing struc­ture bought by gov­ern­ment but we will start mak­ing moves af­ter this year’s hajj. Also, with the rev­enue of the state im­prov­ing I’m con­fi­dent that more will be spon­sored for the 2018 Hajj.

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