Return Hajj Commission to Foreign Affairs Ministry — Minister urges lawmakers

The Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Khadija Abba-Ibrahim, on Tuesday appealed to the National Assembly to return control of Hajj Commission to the ministry for proper coordination.

The minister made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja when members of the committee on Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Parliamentary Friendship and Hajj Affairs, led by its chairman Abdulahi Balarabe-Salame, visited her.

She explained that Hajj Commission used to be under the control of the ministry before it was taken to the presidency.

She said that the commission was now domiciled in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.

Ms. Abba-Ibrahim said: “by tradition in diplomatic cycle, a country does not relate with sub-organ of government but the state through Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“Hajj office domiciled in the office of the SGF will not be able to operate effectively because Saudi Government will not have any direct dealing with the office of the SGF.

“That explains the reason we always communicate with them through diplomatic channels of communication of Note Verbal.”

The minister pointed out that since the commission was still domiciled in the office of the SGF, the ministry was not involved in its activities.

“So we are appealing to you; if there is anything in the legislation you can use to bring back Hajj Commission to the ministry, we are seeking your assistance to help us.

“There is no point in us doing all the policies; if the affairs of the commission are not domiciled in the ministry; it is worrisome,’’ she said.

The minister urged the committee to strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, saying the two countries had areas they could explore for their mutual benefits.

She listed some of the areas to include trade and economy.

She said that there was large volume of trade between the two countries.

“The tie between Saudi Arabia and Nigeria is very cordial and has been for ages; there is therefore need to reinforce and sustain the relationship.

Ms. Abba-Ibrahim said that when President Muhammadu Buhari visited Saudi Arabia, he reiterated the need to revive the Joint Commission between the two countries.

Earlier in his remarks, the committee chairman, Mr. Balarabe-Salame, called on the ministry to facilitate multiple entry visas for the members of the committee wishing to visit Saudi Arabia.

He also stressed the need to convene the 3rd Saudi Arabia-Nigeria joint commission which was held in 2013.



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  • Humanity

    Nonsense! The Hajj Commission and Pilgrim welfare commission should all be scrapped. Of what use is this Minister to the country when in the myriads of problems facing this country and her nationals abroad he is so concerned with Hajj commission? Have we not done enough damage to this country with all these religious activities to the extent that the CBN will sell US Dollars at half the value in the market for people going to Saudi Arabia?

    • Odus

      Absolute and pure nonsense!!! Why on earth should the government be involved in Hajj or Jerusalem business. If you have your money to go on vacation, please go – no one cares where you or your family chose to go on your vacation. Why should the tax payers money use to enable you to go anywhere. The money use to run this department can be use for some youth programs. Most of your cities, town and rural communities have no libraries and yet you waste money on Hajj and Jerusalem; what you are doing is taking hard earned money to this countries and they are using it to make their countries better and providing employment for their youth while yours is in ruin. Let’s build Nigeria first. Do you know you can pray at the corner of your room or in the open air and GOD will still hear and answer your prayers? Let’s face it! Charity begins at home. Let’s make Nigeria great for a change!!!