Management of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON has denied media report that the Lagos Hajj camp was abandoned for 20 years.
The commission clarified in a statement issued in Abuja that at no point its chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan made such remarks during his recent official visit and inspection of the Lagos Hajj camp.
The statement, signed by NAHCON’s Head of Public Affairs, Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara, maintained that the report “is far from the truth”, adding that the “Lagos State Hajj camp has been central in NAHCON’s main concerns, as have been all the others, right from the commission’s inception and even before.”
“The buildings in the Lagos camp are ongoing, the land and structures valued at almost a billion Naira. Different Hajj managers in the
past 30 years generated funds raised for the construction of the buildings in the Hajj camp.
“It is worthy to note that NAHCON’s zonal office has been functional in the Hajj camp site since around 1982. This office has well equipped staff, offices, standby generator and it is responsible for coordinating airlift activities of South-West region.
“In August 2011 for instance, a NAHCON visitation panel recommended in its report that Lagos Pilgrims’ Reception Centre Project should be included in NAHCON’s short-term development plans. This timing is certainly less than 20 years ago.
“Currently, the Lagos camp has at least three almost completed event centers which funding are mostly fuelled by the Hajj development levy,” the statement stressed.
NAHCON recalled that the Hajj development levy was first introduced during the defunct Directorate of Pilgrims Affairs, DPA under Brigadier-General Ahmad Muhammad Daku (rtd) as Sole Administrator from 1997-1999, adding that “funds generated from the levy were primarily used to purchase medical equipment for the DPA’s medical activities in Saudi Arabia.”
It further informed that the levy was reintroduced in 2012 by the 2nd NAHCON Board to serve as an alternative source of funding Hajj infrastructure across the country, adding that the Lagos camp benefited with construction/renovation of event centres and landscaping with funding from the levy projects.
The commission also informed that the then DPA under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs first awarded the Lagos Hajj camp contract in the 80s but could not be completed due to funding and other challenges.
It, however, added that the project was revived in 2018 and re-awarded by NAHCON to Messrs Gridline Nigeria Ltd and that the construction has attained 85 per cent completion, adding that the works on the project yet to be accomplished are fixing of electrical fittings and painting.
NAHCON further stated that “the Hajj camp in Lagos Airport has been operational as an extension to the main Hajj camp due to the former’s convenience being located inside the airport”, pointing out that “this does not however mean that
the main project has been abandoned.”
Rather, it explained that the airport camp is complementary to the main camp so as to hasten screening and departure of intending pilgrims from South-West zone to Saudi
The commission added that “work has continued on the main site, which will be put to use for the general public and Muslim Ummah in particular immediately after it is commissioned.”
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