By Mustapha Usman
A Saudi-based group, Arewa Foundation, has denied media reports that it threatened to abort the forthcoming 2007 Hajj exercise.
A statement jointly by its chairman and secretary, Ibrahim Yusuf and Hassan Muhammad respectively said its motive was to get justice for pilgrims and the Nigerian government not an attempt to scuttle the Hajj exercise.
The foundation urged the National Hajj Commission to address the salient issues it raised in its petition to the National Assembly.
“It came as great shock to all members of this foundation that a section of Nigerian media and a Civil Society Organisation named ‘Independent Hajj Reporters’ that we threatened to take ‘National Hajj Commission’ to court with a view to causing confusion or stopping the 2017 Hajj if the outcome of the ‘Investigative hearing’ by the Public Petitions Committee of the Nigeria House of Representatives is not favourable to us.
“This is shocking and a calculated attempt to tarnish our good names and undermine our bold efforts to call the National Hajj commission to order from its orchestrated and coordinated mischief against the government and Nigerian pilgrims.
“Contrary to their assertions the National Hajj Commission’s activities in the last two Hajj periods, particularly 2015-2016 when the chairman assumed office were replete with inexplicable mischief or misgivings against the Nigerian pilgrims, the government of the federation and 36 participating state governments and their pilgrims welfare boards, the Government and the general public must therefore be aware of the inadequacies of information that were concealed from them about the activities of the Nigeria (National) Hajj Commission in the last couple of years bordering on general operations, pilgrims airlift, accommodations, catering and other welfare service,” it added.