Muslim pilgrims to Mecca from Plateau State said they are worried that neither medical officials nor guides travelled with them to the holy land.
Premium Times learnt that officials from Plateau State may be forced to stay back because the immediate past administration did not remit funds for the state’s hajj operation before handing over to the new administration.
Sources said the absence of these essential officials could cause chaos among the state’s entourage, as pilgrims may not have access to quality healthcare, proper guidance, and even food.
Hajj officials are instrumental to the orderliness of hajj operations. Each state is expected to assemble a team of medical personnel, hajj guides comprising of religious scholars as well as other officials to ensure orderliness in food distribution and movement of pilgrims from one location to another.
A pilgrim who travelled on Friday said the entourage from the state are also panicking and things may get worse as pilgrims move from Mecca to Medina in the coming days.
He said a pilgrim suffered from epileptic complications during the flight and there was no health official on board to assist.
“It was later on that we realized that there was not a single official to guide us. We have been left on our own,” he said.
“The management of the board announced to us yesterday that government had not remitted money for the hajj guides and other officials and there is nothing we can do about it. We have been asked to return home,” an Islamic cleric told this newpaper.
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Asked of the implication of this for first time pilgrims, he said: “There is huge implication because many people don’t know much on how to perform the Hajj. They are always guided by the scholars. Whenever they have questions, they come to the guides for clarification. So, there is tendency that some may lose their Hajj because if you don’t do it as enshrined, your have lost everything.”
Efforts to reach the board’s executive secretary, Auwal Abdullahi, for comments was unsuccessful as he did not respond to calls and a text message sent to his phone.
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