Some intending pilgrims from Bida Local Government Area of Niger State would not perform this year’s Hajj as the Area Pilgrims Officer (APO), Nma Ndagana has failed to remit millions of naira paid into his account.
According to Daily Trust, about 150 intending pilgrims paid into the APO’s personal bank account as he directed them instead of paying into the official designated account domiciled in Jaiz Bank.
The Secretary of the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Umar Maku Lapai, who confirmed the incident, said that a committee had already been set up to investigate the allegations.
He did not, however, give the number of affected intending pilgrims, explaining that complaints had been received in batches and more people are still coming forward with similar complaints.
He said the number of people registered by the APO was more than the allocation given to his local government and he only remitted for the assigned number of people for his local government.
“There are two ways to it. For us in the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, we have paid money for the 2, 265 people but we are yet to receive complete visas. It is the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria that is responsible to give us the visas.
“In the case of Bida, the number of pilgrims that he (APO) registered were above the slot he was asked to register. Those that he paid their money to us have been given visas. Those that paid their money to his account were the ones with problems.
Lapai also explained that if the allegations were found to be true, the official involved would not be allowed to travel, adding that the board would not take responsibility for money paid into individual accounts.
He, however, could not explain the whereabouts of the APO.
But an official of the board who spoke on condition of anonymity said the APO had been arrested by the police and was undergoing interrogation.
Effort to get confirmation of his detention from the Niger State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun was not successful.