A pilgrim from Nasarawa State, Suleiman Bello, who found a money belt containing about N500,000 in various foreign currencies and returned it to its owner, an Afghan, has been rewarded with a free seat for next year’s hajj.
The money belt, usually worn by pilgrims under their Ihram garment to keep cash and valuables, contained $2,345 (N466,655 equivalent), SR303 (Saudi Riyal) (N16,076.84 equivalent) and 3,020 Afghan currency (N9,370.64 equivalent), totalling N492,102.44.
At the Saudi Arabian office of Nigeria’s National Hajj Commission [NAHCON] on Wednesday evening, Mr. Bello said he found the waist bag around the vicinity of the Holy Mosque in Ka’aba.
He said he handed over the money to his coordinator, Hamza Naibi, who said since the identity card of the owner was in the bag, it would be easy to trace him.
The Chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Mohammed, handed over the money to the owner in the presence of other Afghan officials in his office in Makkah.
While promising that the pilgrim would be adequately rewarded, the NAHCON boss, in the interim, announced a free seat for Mr. Bello for next year’s hajj.
“He (Bello) chose to fear Allah knowing he would account to Allah on the Day of Judgement,” Mr. Mohammed said. “He chose to be a good ambassador of Nigeria. He took the property to his state pilgrim officials and they brought it to us so that we can return it to the owner. This shows that Nigerians are honest and God-fearing.”
The owner of the money, Mosa Gousdin, expressed gratitude to Mr. Bello for his honesty.
Also speaking on behalf of the Afghan delegation, an official of that country’s International Ministry of Hajj, Sayed Tahir Hashimi, said there were no words enough to express the country’s appreciation.
“$2,300 is a lot of money and we really appreciate this gesture,” he said.
Mr. Bello expressed joy and appreciation for the free hajj seat reward.
Also speaking, the coordinator of Karu Local Government of the Nasarawa State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mallam Naibi, said what Mr. Bello did “is what is expected of a Muslim anywhere”.