Hajj: Adamawa Speaker, Pilgrims In War Of Words Over Cronyism

By Barnabas Manyam Yola

The Speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly, Kabiru Mijinyawa, has denied reports that he diverted  a return flight  from Saudi Arabia  to serve his cronies and members of the state Assembly.

There was tension in the Adamawa camp in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, leading to an attempt by some enraged pilgrims to attack Mr. Mijinyawa, physically over  his alleged bias in handling the return of pilgrims.

Reports said the speaker was angry that some pilgrims were challenging his decision and almost engaged some of them in a physical fight before they were separated.

Some of the pilgrims in the holy land accused the speaker of colluding with the Adamawa board to shortchange them. They said a pilgrim was supposed to get seven 100 Dollar bills but they we’re given an envelope while about to board  the flight and on getting to Mecca they discovered to their chagrin that it was only one 100 dollar bill and six one dollar bills inside the envelope.

But reacting to the allegation in a phone interview from Mecca, Mr. Mijinyawa told journalists that the real flight schedule by the National Hajj Commission indicated that Adamawa pilgrims will be flown back to Nigeria from September 24.

“But due to a proposed speakers conference to be hosted in Adamawa, I personally approached the chairman of National Hajj Commission who allocated a flight to me for conveyance of lawmakers and some government officials back home last Saturday,” he said.

Continuing, Mr. Mijinyawa stated that when some pilgrims from Mubi and Gombi heard of the development, they protested vehemently until they were handed over to security officials and the National Hajj Commission for cautioning.

However, some pilgrims from Mubi and Gombi local government areas who were expected to return on the first flight that actually came back  on Saturday accused Mr. Mijinyawa of nominating his fellow lawmakers and “cronies” on the flight.

“We are disappointed with the way this Amirul Hajj is handling this exercise, particular this return exercise where he selected his lawmaker colleagues and some cronies to board the first flight back home instead of pilgrims from Mubi and Gombi.

“We complained to him but instead of giving us an explanation, he resorted to abusive language to the extent of threatening to engage in a physical fight with some pilgrims,” said a pilgrim who simply identified himself as Ibrahim.

Another pilgrim who identified himself as Mohammad from Mubi said he was not surprised by the Amirul Hajj’s conduct, alleging that he had been harsh on the pilgrims right from the start in Yola.

“Right from Yola before we came here, he was harsh on pilgrims, accusing us of being unruly. He threatened to deal with us and I am not surprised at his behaviour.”