The Chairman Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Niger State Council, Comrade Abu Nmodu, has appealed for a provision that will allow journalists partake in Hajj operations, stressing that other states across the federation had made adequate provisions for the members of the fourth estate of the realm in Hajj operations hence the need for Niger State to key-in.
He made the assertion during a courtesy visit on the Executive Secretary, Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Umar Makun Lapai, on Wednesday, 1st December, 2021 in Minna.
The Chairman said the aim of the visit was to introduce the new executives of the Union with a view to cementing the long cordial relationship existing between the two organisations.
In his response, the Executive Secretary of the Board, Alhaji Umar Makun Lapai, describe the conventional media as the epitome of responsible journalism and the propellers of peace as against promoters of fake news on the social media, adding that the board under his leadership is media friendly and would maintain the tempo.
He said the board under his watch was recognised as leading in the country with the largest number of Pilgrims in the 2019 Hajj operations, pointing out that the board has made it a principle of not engaging in cash transactions and collection of draft until such drafts are accompanied with international passports among other documents.
Makun Lapai disclosed that the board have a roll-over of about 1, 968 pilgrims, emphasising that the board has suspended the collection of new Hajj fares until further instructions from the National Hajj Commission and therefore, warned the public to be wary of fraudulent individuals.
He further disclosed that the board has refunded about N1. 2 Billion Naira to about 834 pilgrims that could not make it to Hajj due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
The Executive Secretary who underscored the importance of the media in societal development assured the NUJ Chairman, that the desired attention will be accorded to Journalists in Hajj operations just as being extended to other professional teams in the exercise.
Abubakar Adamu Kuta
NUJ, Niger State Council.
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