There is palpable anxiety over attempts by the Nigerian Senate to amend the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Establishment Act 2006.
The Senate is making a move to domicile all funds accruing to the Hajj Saving Scheme in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Hajj Saving Scheme is established, supervised and regulated by NAHCON and the funds are domiciled in Jaiz Bank; a Sharia-compliant commercial bank in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Senate had last week passed for second reading, a bill to amend the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Act.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Danbaba seeks to domicile all funds accruing to the Hajj Savings Scheme in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The funds are currently warehoused in a commercial bank.
The scheme creates an avenue for intending Nigerian Muslim pilgrims, especially low income earners, to save for Hajj (pilgrimage to the holy lands of Makkah and Madina).
Jaiz Bank Plc and NAHCON had, in September 2020, signed a savings scheme agreement to make it easier for intending pilgrims to gradually plan and save through a long-saving platform for people who intend to go for hajj.
Danbaba said the amendment was to protect the interest of the scheme’s subscribers and prevent diversion of the funds for other purposes.
The proposed amendment also seeks to restrict the activities of the commission to its regulatory and coordinating functions as it relates to the conduct and operation of hajj and umrah in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives had also asked NAHCON to suspend further implementation of the Hajj Saving Scheme pending the investigation of the scheme by its committee on Hajj Affairs.