Hands off Hajj issues, Sultan tells FG

•Says Muslims not terrorists

The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to completely hands-off Hajj issues in the country as being done in other countries.

This is even as the spiritual head of the Muslim community in Nigeria declared that Muslims were not terrorists.

The Sultan stated these when he paid a visit to the Hajj House headquarters of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in Abuja.

According to him, there was the need for the Hajj commission to be independent of government, adding that he had been repeatedly saying this every year Hajj report was being submitted to the government.

He called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to work with the Muslim community with a view to achieving NAHCON’s independent, saying that the money being realised from Hajj operations would go a long way in sustaining the commission.

“I am happy that NAHCON is trying to be self-reliant which will make the Federal Government hands-off Hajj issues like it’s being done in Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries.

“Whenever we submitted Hajj reports, I always told former President Goodluck Jonathan that the Federal Government shall hands-off Hajj issue. We want the CBN to work with us in this regard,” the Sultan said.

Making a veiled reference to the current insecurity situation in the country, Alhaji Abubakar declared that Muslims were not terrorists, though they were some bad elements within its fold.

According to the Sultan, “we have told the whole world that Islam is not a religion of terrorists, that Muslims are not terrorists. There is nowhere I have not spoken about this, even outside the country. From the White House in the US to Charttan House in London I have always told them, that we are not terrorists.

“Of course we have some bandits among us but it doesn’t mean Islam or Muslims should be referred to as criminals.

“I am a proud Fulani man and I am not a bandit. I will still like to come back to this world as a Fulani man. Of course among Fulanis there are very bad people, there are criminals just like you have in Yoruba, Ibo, Ibibio and all other languages we have in the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Sultan charged the NAHCON board led by its Chairman, Alhaji Dhikrullah Kunle Hassan, to their best for Islam and the Muslim Ummah, adding that they should build on the successes recorded in the past by previous boards.

Speaking earlier in his welcome address, Hassan said that the Sultan visit to the commission was coming barely one year after the fourth board of NAHCON took over the affairs.

According to him, the new board had made effort to professionalism the Hajj industry in Nigeria, adding that this would be done through the Hajj Training Institute, which would soon become operational before the end of the year.

He further informed that the board had begun the process of transforming NAHCON’s activities from manual to digital as well as resolved to intensify the drive for internally generated revenue (IGR) through the facilitation of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission.

He informed that this would be done through public-private partnership to develop some Hajj camps and their landed properties so that they become busy throughout the year instead of only during Hajj periods.


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