The suspended official said he had apologised to the victims
The suspended Chairman of Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State, Mohammed Pissa,on Thursday admitted that he diverted N13.8 million meant for Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
Mr. Pissa said that the money belonged to persons in his area who wanted to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca in 2013.
He made the admission in Minna while testifying before a Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Aisha Bawa-Bwari on alleged misappropriation of hajj funds in Borgu and Rafi Local Government Areas.
He told the commission that the money was paid to him between February and May 2013 by the intending pilgrims; but the funds were diverted to other uses in the council.
He said the intending pilgrims were unable to perform the hajj due to the diversion of the money to some of the council’s obligations.
He said that he obtained the approval of the council to use the funds for their services.
He, however, said that he had started refunding the money to some of the people, adding that he had paid N2.2 million to them.
He disclosed that he was raising the funds from selling some of his personal property.
Mr. Pissa promised to apologise to the affected persons for the pains he caused to them.
In his testimony, the Pilgrims Officer in Borgu, Albarka Mohammed, told the commission that Mr. Pissa did not remit the money he collected to the bank.
He said although the council’s seats for the hajj were reduced from 138 to 95, all the persons whose money were remitted to the bank were issued with forms and were able to perform the 2013 pilgrimage.