Pilgrims from Osun State on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj have complained about the poor quality of food served by the State Pilgrims Welfare Board.
The pilgrims can be seen throwing away food packages that were given to them in front of room 211, which is rumoured to be occupied by the state Amirul Hajj, Dr. Maroof Ishola, in video clips of the protest that newsmen in Osogbo obtained on Sunday.
Since they arrived in Saudi Arabia, sources claim that pilgrims have been complaining about the subpar food that has been served to them by the caterers contracted by the State Pilgrims Welfare Board.
It was also learnt that the rising tension about the welfare of the pilgrims became aggravated when some of them visited Lagos camp and discovered those in the camp were getting better food.
The pilgrims, who were said to have been further infuriated after the caterers brought food they considered was below standard on Saturday evening, embarked on the protest within the premises of the hotel where they were lodged in Medina.
In a video clip of the protest, one of the pilgrims said, “We are rejecting food given to us. We are at the door of Osun Amirul Hajj. We are rejecting the food given to us. The food is poor, we can’t continue to eat such, after paying a huge amount for this pilgrimage.”
It was gathered that the situation was eventually brought under control, following the intervention of Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji, who pleaded with the protesters to discontinue the protest.
Meanwhile, the management of the board has said it was aware of the protest and already had a meeting with the caterers and the representatives of the pilgrims to address the situation.
A statement signed by the Administrative Secretary of the Board, Bolaji Sanni, obtained in Osogbo on Sunday, further read, “At the meeting were the State Government officials, some representatives of the pilgrims, as well as the Head of Catering team for the service provider.
“The meeting discussed the lack of adequate local Yoruba delicacies in the food menu of the service provider and the need for its inclusion in subsequent meals. The meeting also discussed the possibility of changing the caterers if no improvement is noticed.
“It should, however, be noted that this problem is not peculiar to Osun state, and one can not rule out the possibility of fifth columnists blowing the situation out of control for obvious political reasons.”