•As NDLEA warns against hard drugs
•Take care of your luggage—Customs
By Haroon Balogun
Intending Hajj pilgrims have been warned against trafficking illegal and contraband drugs such as cocaine, tramadol, heroin and cannabis to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the 2019 Hajj exercise.
Alhaji Mahlum Musa from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, made the disclosure while speaking at a Hajj Seminar organised by one of Nigeria’s leading Hajj and Umrah operators, Hajj Mabrur Ventures Limited, HMVL, in Lagos.
Alhaji Mahlum also mentioned kolanuts as one of the illegal drugs forbidden by the Saudi authorities despite its popularity among Nigerians, especially during traditional ceremonies.
The representative of NDLEA therefore warned Nigerian pilgrims to abstain from illegal drugs and other unlawful dealings, adding that “the lives of indicted pilgrims will not only be terminated, but such acts will also strain Saudi/Nigerian ties and of course, damage the good reputation of Hajj Mabrur as one of the trusted Hajj and Umrah operators, as well as Nigerians in general.
The first phase of the Hajj seminar which held on Sunday at the Islamic Centre, University of Lagos Central Mosque, Lagos, also had in attendance personnel from the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, legal practitioners, members and executives of The Muslim Congress, TMC and spiritual leaders, among other prominent personalities.
Hajj is a spiritual journey – Scholar
The Naibul Amir, Cultural Affairs of TMC, Ustadh Sheriffdeen Ibrahim noted that the hajj exercise is a spiritual journey which requires maximum preparation.
In his words: “Going for Hajj is answering the call made by Prophet Ibrahim. The journey is a spiritual one which requires preparation, the best of preparation, according to the Qur’an, is piety.
“The call is a meeting with Allah and it’s time to purify your soul. We must get prepared fully in terms of knowledge by reading books on hajj, gathering money and also arranging for food, which should not be in excess.
“Psychological preparation is also important. The mind must be ready for the various rites and obligations so as to maximize all rewards inherent in hajj. Time management is also important. Know what to do, when to do it and why you do it. This would aid us in having a Hajj Mabrur,” he said.
Exhaustion, dehydration common problems facing pilgrims – Dr Busari
Earlier on Saturday, the agency in collaboration with the TSH Medical Team carried out a thorough medical check on its intending pilgrims, numbering about 350.
The screening, which included clinical and laboratory checks cut across pulse rate, blood pressure, height, weight, consultations, blood sampling, genotype, hemoglobin level, sugar level, pregnancy test and vaccinations, among others.
Speaking with newsmen, the Medical Director of TSH, Dr Abdul Wasiu Busari explained that the screening would aid the operations of the venture during the hajj exercise.
He said the most likely challenge to be faced by pilgrims during the Hajj exercise are exhaustion, dehydration, medical complications and cough, adding that, “eight members of our team of medical personnel, among whom are doctors and pharmacists, will be detailed to attend to Hajj Mabrur pilgrims.”
According to Dr Busari, exhaustion is one of the most prevalent. Exhaustion occurs as a result of the rigorous nature of the Hajj activities and because many pilgrims feel they must maximise all the rituals.
“Most times, you see pilgrims attempting to do more than their capacities. Some pilgrims have determined that they want to do 41 Tawaaf (circumbulation) for one day and they will always try to do that. By the second day, they are totally exhausted.
“Dehydration is also one of the most common health challenges. The weather is very hot in Saudi Arabia and because of that, pilgrims get dehydrated. If they don’t carry water with them, that would cause a lot of problems.
“Also, patients who have had some medical conditions before may have complications. If they have hypertension, diabetes, asthma and because of the crowd, there can be a lot of infections. Cough is also a common problem.
“But because of the vaccinations that we have already given to them, many of our pilgrims go hitch free without having some of these challenges. Notwithstanding, education must be continuous and giving information must occur from time to time. However, we are adequately prepared to take care of whatever challenges that may arise,” he assured.
Ensure your luggage are safe—Customs
The Chief Superintendent of Customs (CSC), Alhaji A. B. Abdullah also advised the intending pilgrims to stick to the rules and regulations surrounding the journey from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia and ensure they guarantee the safety of their luggage.
The last phase of the seminar for pilgrims who came to Lagos from different parts of the country except Abuja will be held on Sunday, July 21 at the Islamic Centre Hall, University of Lagos.
Similarly, a one-day medical seminar will be held for intending pilgrims in Abuja on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at Stonehedge Hotel, Central Business District, FCT, Abuja. Medical screening starts 9:00am and the seminar proper commences by 10: 15am.
The Managing Director of Hajj Mabrur Ventures Limited, Alhaji AbdulHameed Solate, who welcomed the guests and pilgrims to the seminar, noted that the training became necessary in order to acquaint the intending pilgrims with what to do and also what to abstain from so as to have a successful and hitch-free Hajj exercise.