Facing The Ka'aba

May 30, 2024

Hajj 2024: Avoid smuggling prohibited items into Saudi Arabia, NAHCON warns

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File image of Hajj pilgrims from Lagos.

By Haroon-Ishola Balogun

Intending pilgrims waiting to be airlifted to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the 2024 Hajj have been cautioned to refrain from travelling with illicit drugs, kola nuts, cigarettes etc., into the Holy land.


The pilgrims are reminded that as a nation deeply rooted in religious and cultural heritage, Saudi Arabia holds strict laws against drug trafficking, for which the penalty is death.


In a statement by the commission signed by Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara said, “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. Hajj period is a time for spiritual reflection and prayers that should be approached with reverence and respect for the laws and customs of the host country.


“One the other hand, Commission’s management warns intending pilgrims to beware of being used as conduit for any illicit trade without their knowledge. Therefore, they are advised be extra vigilant over their bags at the airports to avoid implantation of prohibited items to their luggage unawares.


“Pilgrims are urged to uphold their honour and dignity and that of the country, as any individual caught smuggling prohibited items not only brings shame upon themselves but also tarnishes the reputation of their nation.


“NAHCON similarly advises State Pilgrims Boards to collaborate fully with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other related agencies in ensuring that persons planning to smuggle items prohibited in Saudi Arabia are apprehended to avoid embarrassment to the country and unnecessary delays during screening in both countries.”