The Presidency has warned intending Muslim pilgrims from Nigeria to resist any temptation to take hard drugs to Saudi Arabia.
The Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, gave this warning during the 2019 Hajj exercise on Wednesday.
The presidential aide reminded the pilgrims that taking hard drugs attracts death penalty in Saudi Arabia.
Dabiri-Erewa in a statement by NIDCOM Head of Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said despite repeated warnings and workshops for intending pilgrims, it was 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 were still 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 had been banned in Saudi Arabia, and if found, attracted 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, had 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,” she said.
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.