Area Pilgrims Officer (APO) in Bida Local Government Area of Niger State, Nma Ndagana has been accused of failing to remit millions of naira paid into his account for intending pilgrims from the local government.
Daily Trust reported that 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 the Jaiz Bank.
Secretary of the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Umar Maku Lapai confirmed this and also disclosed that a committee had already been set up to investigate the allegations. He said the complaints had been received in batches and more people are still coming forward with similar complaints.
It was also learnt that the number of intending pilgrims 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.
“We have set up a committee to find out what actually happened. The committee is still investigating. The affected people are coming in batches. In the first place, we registered 28 complaints. Later more people came and they are still coming.”
Secretary of the Niger State Pilgrims Welfare Board further revealed 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.
An official of the board also told the publication that the APO had been arrested by the police and was undergoing interrogation.