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Partner NDLEA To Curb Smuggling Of Prohibited Items, NAHCON Tells States

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has called on state pilgrims’ welfare boards to partner with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to prevent the smuggling of prohibited items into Saudi Arabia.

NAHCON Executive Chairman, Jalal Arabi emphasised this need in a Thursday statement released by the commission’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Mrs. Fatima Usara, in Abuja.

Arabi highlighted the importance of collaboration between state authorities and related agencies to apprehend those attempting to smuggle prohibited items.

Such cooperation is crucial to avoid embarrassing Nigeria and preventing delays during the screening of pilgrims in both countries, according to him.

Arabi said, “Intending pilgrims for the 2024 Hajj have been cautioned against travelling with illicit drugs, kolanuts and cigarettes into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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

“NAHCON wishes to remind pilgrims that the purpose of the trip to Saudi Arabia is for worship. Therefore, they should not be distracted by acts that will violate the sanctity of their Hajj.

“The Hajj period is a time for spiritual reflection and prayers that should be approached with respect for the laws and customs of the host country.”

NAHCON boss also cautioned intending pilgrims to remain vigilant against unknowingly being used as conduits for illicit trade.

He added that “pilgrims have also been advised to be extra vigilant over their bags at the airport to avoid implantation of prohibited items in their luggage unawares.”

Arabi also urged pilgrims to uphold their honour and dignity, as well as that of the country.

“Any individual caught smuggling prohibited items not only brings shame upon themselves but also tarnishes the reputation of the nation,” he cautioned.

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