Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has warned intending Muslim pilgrims from Nigeria, to resist any temptation to take hard drugs to Saudi Arabia.
Dabiri-Erewa reminded the pilgrims that taking hard drugs attracts death penalty in Saudi Arabia.
She gave this warning when inaugural flight of intending Muslim pilgrims to 2019 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia commenced on Wednesday.
Our correspondent gathered that the yearly Hajj exercise in Mecca and Medinah, Saudi Arabia, which attracts millions of Muslims, who have the means to embark on the journey, from all parts of the world, is the fifth pillar of the religion of Islam.
The peak of the Hajj exercise, which is done on the ninth day in the twelfth month of Islam calendar, precedes Eld-Kabir festival of every year.
Over 65,000 Nigerians excluding the private operators are slated to perform 2019 Hajj exercise.
It will be recalled that the Saudi Arabian authorities have asked Nigerian pilgrims alongside others not to bring prohibited drugs, foods and items to the country.
However, Dabiri-Erewa in a statement by NIDCOM Head of Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said despite repeated warnings and workshops for intending pilgrims, it is disheartening that some Nigerians still ran foul of Saudi Arabia authorities’ law.
She recalled that some Nigerians caught with hard drugs in the last few years are still currently on death row in Saudi Arabia, pleading with pilgrims to shun the shameful act.
Dabiri-Erewa also reminded the pilgrims that kolanuts and prescription painkillers in large quantities have been banned in Saudi Arabia, and if found, attracts severe penalties according to new Saudi Arabia regulations.
She said the Federal government through the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and various state boards have made adequate arrangements to attend to the medical needs of the pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.
She urged the security agencies and other para-military stationed at the various departure centres in Nigeria to screen the pilgrims before their departure to Saudi Arabia.
Dabiri-Erewa advised Nigerian pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the country by portraying Nigeria in good image and pray for peace, unity and progress of the country in the Holy land.
“All those who intend to perform Hajj are therefore advised to adhere strictly to the Saudi rules and regulations on prohibited items,”
NAHCON had announced that its inaugural flight of Nigerian pilgrims to 2019 Hajj exercise commenced on Wednesday July 10 with intending pilgrims from Katsina and Lagos states.
The first batch of NAHCON advanced team comprising 39 members of staff for hajj operations left already for Saudi Arabia since last Friday with another 15-man National Medical Advance Team led by Dr Ibrahim Kana also departed for Saudi Arabia.