All Nigerian Airports including that of Ilorin International Airport have been provided with screening and other detective equipment and facilities to detect those carrying hard drugs and other contrabands to Saudi Arabia during pilgrimages and other countries of the world.
This is in line with the directive of President Muhammadu BUHARI to the airport authorities after last year’s hajj exercise where some pilgrims were caught at the airport in Saudi Arabia after taken off from the Ilorin International Airport with substances suspected to be cocaine.
The National Commissioner in charge of Policy , Personnel Management and Finance, at the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) Alhaji Yusuf Adebayo Ibrahim disclosed this in Ilorin , the KWARA state capital while answering questions on a Radio KWARA personality interview programme Playing Host.
According to him, the security committee of NAHCON , officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other security agencies have been working together to avoid any act of criminality either within or outside the country during this year’s hajj operations.
Alhaji Yusuf, however, called on the various pilgrims welfare Boards across the country and the state government to be more vigilant about their pilgrims to avoid any form of embarrassment for the country .
He announced that NAHCON would also introduce Hajj Savings Scheme before next year’s pilgrimage to ease payment of hajj fees by intending pilgrims as practiced in countries like Malaysia which according to him , is part of the mandate of the hajj commission .
The National Commissioner disclosed that the Federal Government approved three Nigerian Airlines namely Medview Airline, Max Air , Azman Air and one foreign airline, Flynas from Saudi Arabia for the airlift of pilgrims this year while the inaugural flight from Nigeria has commenced from Abuja.
According to him, airlifting of pilgrims from kwara state via the Ilorin International Airport would commence on Thursday this week with Medview and Max Airlines.
Alhaji Yusuf said ninety five thousand slot was allocated to Nigeria for this year’s pilgrimage to the holy land and promised that the hajj operations will end within twenty one days from the day of the airlift.
He warned pilgrims against patronizing fake agents and tour operators saying that about eighty five offices of such illegal agencies were recently closed down by the commission and attributed the increase in the cost of this year’s pilgrimage to hike in the dollar against the Naira.
The National Commissioner cautioned pilgrims against carrying hard drugs such as tramadol and cocaine stressing that anyone one with such contrabands in Saudi Arabia would face the capital punishment which is death penalty.
Alhaji Yusuf called on all state chief executives to guide against politicizing hajj activities and also stop the idea of changing pilgrims board executives frequently to ensure adequate planning in Nigeria and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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