Hajj Refunds: CSO lauds Makinde, urges other governors to emulate gesture
Independent Hajj Reporters (IHR), a civil society organization that seeks to entrench transparency in the Hajj and Umrah industry, has commended Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo state for his gesture to the 2022 Hajj pilgrims from the state.
The National Coordinator of the CSO, Ibrahim Muhammed, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, revealed that Makinde had ordered the state Muslim Pilgrims Welfare board not to deduct any amount from all the intending pilgrims from the state who missed the Hajj and had asked for a refund.
He said the CSO was aware that certain deductions were made from pilgrims’ deposits in other states for service already paid for.
The CSO said the words of the governor while receiving the report of Hajj 2022 at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, was gladdening and also pleasing to the intending pilgrims who already lost the chance to perform the Hajj in 2022.
“The Governor equally said that all those pilgrims who want to use their money for the 2023 Hajj would be the first to be considered for the exercise and that they would not make any additional payment to what they have already paid even if the fare for Hajj 2023 turns out to be a bit higher than 2022.
“This gesture means Oyo State Government will shoulder the differentials of the 2023 Hajj fare for intending pilgrims from Oyo state that ‘missed’ the 2022 Hajj. This is worth commending,” he said.
The national coordinator urged other State Executives to emulate Makinde by directing their respective State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards/Agencies and Commissions not to deduct what they call “service charge” from hajj refunds.
“Some of these states kept pilgrims’ deposits in commercial banks for months with accrued interests, yet they still deduct from the exact amount paid by pilgrims who missed Hajj.”
He restated the commitment of the CSO to protect the interest of pilgrims and called on states who are in the habit of “manufacturing non-existent and non-rendered services” from deducting money paid by pilgrims, especially those pilgrims that could not travel for hajj.