NAHCON staff, caterers in Saudi Arabia decry non-payment of allowance, outstanding as pilgrims survive on food rationing
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) staff currently in Saudi Arabia overseeing and handling activities of pilgrims decry the non-payment of their estacode for the past two week that they have being at the Holy land.
This is coming with the complaints of the caterers engaged by the commission to feed the pilgrim whom have not being paid also, whereby the quality of food served the pilgrims are small in quantity and tasteless, according to most of the pilgrims.
Some of the staff who spoke to Solacebase on condition of anonymity for fear of victimization, said they were not paid their estacode for the past two weeks and even as of Tuesday.
‘’Most of us have to borrow money to pay for our hotel accommodation and for other issues which is not the tradition, ‘’the staff complained bitterly.
‘’You can ask from anybody that is conversant with the system, we are supposed to be paid even before leaving Nigeria so that we can even make arrangement for our families and ourselves during the Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia.’’
‘’As we speak with you now, we are more than 230 staff in Saudi presently and our condition is terrible as we have to go borrowing to survive.’’
‘’This is despite the fact that we were supposed to be paid for 30 days but the commission insisted on paying us for 28 days. They said, the deducted 2 days, would be given to staff of the commission at home who did not travel to Saudi for the Hajj exercise.’’
The staff who are bitter about their conditions said NAHCON last week paid staff in Nigeria N250,000 each from the deduction from those in Saudi though with a mistake of crediting their account with N500,000 each although they requested the staff to return the excess of N250,000.
Similarly, some of the pilgrims already in the Holy land are not happy with the quality of their foods and the quantity that is an eyesore, according to them.
A pilgrim from one of the south western states who was served two bean cakes and a small cup of pap on Tuesday told Solacebase that he cannot imagine that they paid about N2.7m and would be treated this way.
‘’My brother, the way we are being treated is so sad, check the pictures and the video of the food they are serving us , even prisoners would not be served this.’’
Also, another pilgrim from one of the northwestern state lamented similar complaint with respect to their feeding.
Solacebase correspondent in Mecca subsequently spoke with some of the caterers who confirmed that they have not being paid since they got to Saudi.
‘’The tradition is that we were normally paid before departing Nigeria to ease our activities but the reverse is the case in this situation, as we have not been given a dime by the commission,’’ said one of the caterers.
When contacted NAHCON Assistant Director Public Affairs , Fatima Sandar Usara said the staff were paid one week allowance last week.
Usara said the tradition is that they staff are paid in two phases.
On the issue of poor feeding of pilgrim, she said the commission is already investigating same, adding that feeding of the pilgrims is being handled by each state pilgrims board.
The NAHCON image maker told Solacebase that they had earlier screened caterers for the Hajj exercise but state pilgrims boards insisted on handling the feeding of their pilgrims on their own.