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