The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Kadir Obafemi Hamzat (right) and the Chairman/CEO, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan (left) discussing during the NAHCON visit to Lagos on Wednesday 16th February, 2022 .
The Lagos State Government has expressed her willingness to support the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in completing its projects in the State.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat made this disclosure today, while hosting the NAHCON delegation led by its Chairman/CEO, Alh.Zikhrullah Kunle Hazzan, on behalf of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, in his office at the Round House, Alausa, Ikeja.
Responding to the request made by the NAHCON boss in respect of its projects at the Akowonjo Hajj camp, Alimosho, the Deputy Governor said that Lagos State prides herself in doing things that will always assist the citizens of this country. He said, “In Lagos State we don’t do things with sentiment, we try to present the right people to right position irrespective of where they came from”.
While noting that Lagos State occupies 0.3 per cent of Nigeria in terms of size and accommodates 10 per cent of its total population, he affirmed that land has always been a factor. He therefore urged NAHCON to work with the Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi, in order to fast track the processing of all necessary documents in respect of the projects.
On the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) which was established to make Hajj seamless for Muslim brothers and sisters, he advised the Commission to be focused and ensure that the scheme was managed properly with a view to ensuring that people actually go for Hajj without stress which is the essence of setting it up.
Hamzat also advised the Commission to guide against the ugly experience of Indonesia where almost two billion dollars was lost when the Hajj Savings of pilgrims was plaughed into another venture.
Speaking earlier, the NAHCON Chairman, Alh. Hassan said that they were in Lagos to brief the Governor in respect of the Commission’s property at the Akowonjo Hajj camp.
He added that NAHCON has nothing less than 15 to 20 of such properties across the federation and that out of the 17 states in the south, it is only in Lagos that it has a property on an expanse land of 30 hectare since 1975 which has now been reduced to only three hectare due to encroachment.
He pointed out that the Commission’s activities are not sponsored by the Federal Government but through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), hence, its decision to look inward to raise funds for all its activities through their assets that are lying fallow all over the country.
Hassan emphasised that the commission chose to complete the projects through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement which began with Kano State where they have build up to about 90 per cent completion, a structure comprising shopping mall, banks, etc.
He therefore sought the support of the State Government to continue with the process of PPP. While promising to comply with the rules and regulations guiding such, he said that the edifice when completed would serve the Muslims and non-Muslims in the South West.
Speaking glowingly about Lagos, he said as far as Hajj was concerned, Lagos is the best one can find anywhere in Nigeria. He added that the pilgrims from the State are at least half of the entire pilgrims from the entire 17 southern states in the country .
While thanking the Deputy Governor for the launch of the Hajj Savings Scheme (HSS) in Lagos about two years ago, he said that Nigeria was the first to do so in the entire continent of Africa, saying the only country NAHCON was looking forward to beat is Malaysia.
He stated that government has no business in sponsoring any person on either Christian or Muslim pilgrage, stressing that the position of the National commission was that government should serve as facilitator and logistics supplier and not to expend money in taking people on pilgrimage. He added that such monies are better spent for economic empowerment.
Both the NAHCON’s delegation and Lagos State Government officials later went into a close door meeting where the Hon. Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi formally introduced the Board Chairman, Engr. Shakir Ayinde Gafar and other members of the newly inaugurated Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board to the NAHCON Chairman.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Islamic matters, Alh. Ahmad Abdullahi Jebe; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Oluseyi Sewedo Whenu; Board Secretary, Imam AbdulHakeem Kosoko are among the State officials present during the event.
Asst. Director (Public Affairs)