The group accused the board of playing politics with a religious rite.
A group of lawyers under the aegis of the Legal Rights Awareness and Protection Organisation, LAREPO, has threatened to sue the Muslim wing of the Oyo State Pilgrims Board over the alleged illegal removal of the names of some intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia in the state.
The group, in a letter addressed to the board chairman and signed by its National President, Yakub Fadare, alleged that the victims were denied slots in the list of eligible pilgrims to the Holy land after they had met all the necessary requirements expected of them.
“It is our information that some of the pilgrims had successfully passed through rigorous screening and interviews conducted by the members of this Board and they had been certified fit by medical teams of your Board for the performance of this year’s Hajj. Surprisingly, the successful ones who are the subjects of our complaint, have had their names excluded (from) the fifth list which was pasted about four days ago on the wall of your Board’s operational field at Hajj Camp, Olodo, Ibadan. This is more surprising in view of the fact that the intending pilgrims have completed all the necessary procedural duties including the inoculations among others,” the statement noted.
Copies of the letter dated September 6 were also sent to offices of the state Governor, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, and the National Hajj Commission, Abuja.
According to the group, the claimants, having concluded that they had successfully scaled all hurdles, were already preparing for the September 14 airlift date set by the National Hajj Commission before they discovered that their names were not included in the final list.
“As a matter of fact, all the complainants informed us that they had commenced the Hajj proceedings since January and so curiously surprised that at the 11th hour, few days to the commencement of airlift, your Board could whimsically deprive them of their longed intention and rights.”
LAREPO insinuated that the board may have substituted the names of the aggrieved intending pilgrims for those of some politicians in the state to curry favour for Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s second term ambition.
“If iron could rust, what then is the hope of the masses? We look forward to your compliance within the next seven days of receipt of this letter. Hence, we shall have no option than to approach the law court to compel your compliance and seek damages on behalf of the complainants,” the group warned the hajj board.
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