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Hajj: NAHCON warns pilgrims against smuggling cigarettes, kolanuts

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has warned Nigerian pilgrims to desist from carrying cigarettes and kola nuts to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.…

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has warned Nigerian pilgrims to desist from carrying cigarettes and kola nuts to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A statement by NAHCON’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara, on Thursday, stated that travelling with illicit drugs, kola nuts, cigarettes into the Kingdom could lead to death sentence.

“The pilgrims are reminded that as a nation deeply rooted in religious and cultural heritage, Saudi Arabia holds strict laws against drug trafficking, penalty for which is death. NAHCON wishes to remind the pilgrims that the purpose of their trip to Saudi Arabia is for worship, therefore they should not be distracted by acts that would violate sanctity of their Hajj,” Fatima said.

She also warned intending pilgrims to beware of being used as conduit for any illicit trade without their knowledge.

She also stated that the financial downturn that impacted many aspects of the 2024 Hajj operations will affect payment of NAHCON staff stipend for the Hajj operations.

While expressing regret for the situation, she said financial constraints for certain allowances peculiar to NAHCON staff will remain suspended for the time being.

“Despite this challenging situation, the commission remains hopeful that as conditions improve, staff allowances may be reassessed even if it were a minimal increase,” she said.

She said this time around, staff will be given the option of returning to Nigeria after 21 days of service if they opt to return.

“The NAHCON chairman, Malam Jalal Arabi, communicated the situation to staff on offshore assignment via zoom meeting where he explained the tight situation that the commission finds itself in and sought their understanding. It was the same condition that led NAHCON to request for medical volunteerism by National Medical Team members. Similarly, allowances of all operational committee members: including Media Team, Ulama, Security and other stakeholders remain affected due to budgetary limitations,” she said.

 

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