Problems And Challenges Created By The Kano State Government In The 2016 Hajj
I would like to start by wishing my fellow Nigerians a happy independence day. May it mark the beginning of peace and progressive Nigeria. I want to also use this opportunity to wish my Muslim brothers and sisters a happy Islamic new year.
With all intend and purposes, the article is centred around the 2016 Hajj of Kano indigenes,that was conducted, organized and regulated under the auspice of Kano state government with an attempt to expose the ineptitude of the Kano state government, the hardship suffered by the indigenes in the Hajj process and the mismanagement of the kano state funds by the government in the process.
It shattered my imagination when I learned from an interview with Kano State Governor that they spent #3billion Naira for the 2016 Hajj. I think spending such huge amount of money in time of austerity, in a time that the people of Kano are agitating for the fulfilment of their basic needs is totally absurd and unacceptable. One may ask, On what basis was three billion naira spent? Was the state government paying for everybody to go to hajj? The state government claimed that they would no longer sponsor people for Hajj, and with that, that amount was still spent. I see this, and am not alone, as a total mismanagement of public fund. At a time that poverty rate is rising in the state, food is unaffordable, roads are bad, education sector is crumbling, WAEC students can’t access their results due to negligence of the state government, students abroad and within are in critical conditions, that is the time Kano state government is spending three billion naira for Hajj in Kano alone. This spending should be investigated by the EFCC, ICPC and other related authorities.
And to my greatest surprise, the government that claimed to have spent such huge amount of money gave only the sum of #5,000 to each of all the Kano pilgrims which is in contrast to the $200 that was been given before to pilgrims. I think #5000 is not even close enough to cover their expenses, transportation and others. The money as some of the pilgrims claimed was not even enough to cover for their two day transport fee to the Holy mosque, due to the distance and cost of transport.
Another sad story of the 2016 hajj operation that was conducted by Kano state government was the issue of the accommodations of the state pilgrims and their transportation. When other states that spent far less than #3bn, for example Jigawa state, were able to accommodate their people at a much more convenient houses and hotels which were close to the Holy mosque to the extent that Kano state indigenes that their government spent #3bn were going to Jigawa to travel through there. This is because the Kano state government is accommodating its people in a village that will take a longer time to reach the mosque compared to that of other states. This is a huge problem created by the Kano state government, faced by the Kano state people.
In regards to health facilities, the state government was also poor. Contrary to the claim made by the governor, that they have supplied enough medicines for the pilgrims, the reverse was the case. Pilgrims had to wait a long time, spending the whole day waiting just to see a doctor, and after seeing a doctor, just a portion of the medicine would be provided, and tell you to buy the rest.
With all this problems, the government officials and Kano state house of assembly members were given a house very close to the mosque, with cars and drivers to take them anywhere at their appropriate time, leaving other pilgrims to suffer transport fee and distance walk in order to reach the mosque. Old people had to stop going to the mosque because of health issues, and others whose whole money had finished on transport had to also stop going.
Also, feeding was very poor. Food was provided two times a day, and at the ending of the program, food was not sufficiently provided, to the extent that some will get, and others won’t, forcing them to buy, with the little money they had.
After all this problems and challenges which the Kano state pilgrims protested against directly to the governor, who was performing the Hajj together with them in a more comfortable place and manner, the governor decided to run away to Dubai and abandon his people.
Having discussed in brief just a handful of the problems created by the Kano state government to its people in the 2016 Hajj, which most of whom are regular described as the worst Hajj they have ever experienced.
At any rate, I would like to make it clear that am not against the spending of the #3bn by the Kano state government for the Hajj, but the mismanagement of the fund in a time of economic recessions. That huge amount of money was enough to make Kano pilgrims very comfortable and things would have been made easy for them, contrary to their experience.
A word is enough for the wise.
Article by Aliyu Bello