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By Godfrey Olukya   16-10-2012

Over 2000 Muslims in Nigeria’s state of Zamfara who had paid their money so that they go to Mecca for this years holy pilgrimage are crying foul after their money was swindled.

Although they paid in full money for the holy trip, they are likely not to travel to the holy land because their names were missing on the list of intending pilgrims.

The Muslims’ money was reportedly swindled by some administrators, local government staff and some officials of the state pilgrims’ welfare agency.

Most of those who were defrauded were Fulani cattle keepers who deposited their money over two months ago. They had kept the money with those supposed to organize for their travel who, instead of remitting the money, diverted it into personal use.

One of the local government councils is allegedly being investigated by police for misappropriating over 2 million US dollars deposited by some intending pilgrims.

Faizal  Buluka,one of those who paid for the trip but his money was swindled, said,’ We paid the money sometime back and they told us that all was OK. Some of us even collected  uniforms and travel bags from offices of those organizing the trip. We were later shocked when we were told that our  names were not among those cleared to travel.’

State welfare agency executive secretary  Alhaji Lawal Mafara, confirmed the incident. He said, ‘Some unscrupulous people cheated people who paid money to travel to the holy land. We have notified police and other  relevant authorities. All those involved will be arrested and prosecuted.’

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